While Americans wait to see if a second stimulus check is going to be approved this month, there are about 10 important issues concerning another payment, which are under debate right now. The first stimulus payments went out as part of the CARES Act legislation, which was created to help the U.S. with financial instability during the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine period.
COVID-19 is quite contagious and can be deadly for some, so stay-at-home orders were issued across the nation. This led to many people losing income because they could not work. The government subsequently issued $1,200 checks to taxpayers as a way of helping boost the economy. While individual citizens received checks in the aforementioned amount, married couples received $2,400 payments, and parents were issued and an extra $500 for their children. The payments were issued by the IRS and began being sent out in May.
The Democrat-led House passed a follow-up bill in May — the HEROES Act — a $3 trillion bill that would meet the needs of many citizens and businesses. The Republican-led Senate did not support this bill, as they found it to be too costly. They drafted their own bill — the HEALS Act — which Democrats have felt does not provide enough financial help to Americans. There are currently no official details on what citizens can expect from a new bill to be finalized, but scroll down to read what we know is being discussed, as previously reported by CNET.
The first big issue on the table is funding for the United States Postal Service. Democrat leaders have advocated for USPS funding, even including it in their HEROES Act bill, but Republicans have less enthusiastic. President Trump has been vocally opposed to new funding for the USPS, as he has stated that he believes the only reason Democrats want USPS funding is so they can implement universal mail-in voting, which he considers to be subject to widespread fraud. This has been fact-checked by a number of outlets, and proved to be inaccurate.prevnext
The CARES Act provided and extra $600 in federal unemployment, but that expired in July. Senate Republicans drafted a new bill — the HEALS Act — but Democrats felt that it did meet enough of the needs that Americans have amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so negotiations stalled and no agreement was settled on. This led to Trump signing the executive orders, which would see FEMA sending out an extra $300 federal unemployment benefit money to states that apply for it. A new unemployment plan is being discussed for the next bill.prevnext
Second Stimulus Checks
The first stimulus bill, the CARES Act, gave Americans $1,200, with married couples receiving a collective payment of $2,400. It also provided $500 for dependents, up to a total of three. Democrats wanted to increase that amount to $1,200 for dependents with a new bill, but Republicans are resistant to that amount, and would rather keep it the same. There has also been speculation that GOP leaders may introduce a bill that does not include direct stimulus payments at all.prevnext
The CARES Act did not feature any school provisions, but both the HEROES Act and the HEALS Act do. A proposal from the GOP features $105 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund. This money is designated to help schools as they reconvene classes, whether it be online or in-person. The biggest portion of the money is for K-12 schools. A smaller amount is reserved for higher education, and the remainder would be given to governors to use at their discretion for either group.prevnext
Coronavirus Liability Protection
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has championed coronavirus liability protections. He is concerned about mass legal cases emerging in the wake of the pandemic. He argues that this would do damage to the U.S. economy's re-growth after the hit it took with COVID-19 cases first spiked and states had begun instating stay-at-home orders.prevnext
Payroll Protection Program
The Payroll Protection Program, or PPP, provides forgivable loans to small businesses as a way to provide incentive for them to keep their employees on the payroll. The goal of the program is to help keep Americans employed, but it is said to have had a shaky start so far. A new Republican-proposal would re-focus the plan at small businesses, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.prevnext
Employee Retention Tax Credit
The employee retention tax credit program allows employers to receive refundable tax credits for wages that they paid to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The employer can then use those credits to subtract from taxes they owe. They can also receive a refund for taxes they owe, as well.prevnext
Return-to-work payments are being discussed, and would be a temporary weekly bonus — up to $450 — for workers who are unemployed but have secured a new job or are rehired. This money would be on top of their wages earned. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, proposed the plan, and the Trump administration expressed interest in it.prevnext
The CARES Act contained a moratorium on evictions, but since that plan has expired, the state of the U.S. housing system is uncertain. Two routes for meeting this need have been propose. One would be funding to help renters pay their debts. The other option to simply prevent landlords from evicting their tenants for a specific allotted amount of time. President Trump has since signed an executive order regarding this issue, but a more extensive plan is being worked out.prevnext
Payroll Tax Cuts
Payroll tax cuts is something that President Trump has long-fought for in a second COVID-19 relief bill. He has signed a memorandum regarding the measures, but the legalities of this are not clear. There is no word if he and the White House are pushing to get payroll tax cuts into the second bill, but it has been something that has regularly been talked about.prev