As the end of August approaches, millions of Americans are awaiting news of a second round of stimulus payments. The first round of payments, which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began distributing in mid-April, have all but run dry, and with the coronavirus pandemic having led to an historic level of unemployment in the U.S. and economic turmoil, many are desperate for additional aid.
Payments had been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, both parties had included provisions to fund an additional round of payments in their stimulus relief proposals. In the May proposed HEROES Act, those who qualified for the first round of payments would be eligible for a second. Similar wording was used in the HEALS Act, which was proposed by the GOP in July as Congress returned to Capitol Hill.
However, despite that agreement, the two parties could agree on little else, resulting in the complete collapse of negotiations earlier this month. Now, with millions of Americans still out of work and little news coming regarding another relief bill, many have been left wondering where things stand. Keep scrolling to see the stimulus check updates as of Aug. 28.
The Blame Game
The stalled negotiations have resulted in a public back-and-forth taking place on social media. As Americans await any news regarding payments, top Democrats and Republicans have been battling it out not behind closed doors, but rather on social media.
In a tweet on Aug. 24, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats "playing games" that have held up any further legislation. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken to Twitter to condemned McConnell's refusal to bring the HEROES Act to a vote in the Senate, this week noting that it has been sitting on his desk for more than 100 days.
These antics, however, seem to be doing little to persuade the American people to pick a side, many condemning the attacks and urging lawmakers to take their fingers off the keyboard and instead head back to the negotiation table.prevnext
The "Skinny" Proposal
After the HEALS Act was met with little fanfare, a recent report from CNBC suggested that Republicans are now working to craft a second proposal. This proposal will be slimmer than the HEALS Act, with a price tag of roughly $500 billion. It is believed that this proposal will target a number of things, including expanded unemployment insurance, a new authorization of small business loans, and money for schools and Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. It would not, however, include a second round of stimulus payments, despite payments having bipartisan support. This proposal has not yet been introduced and it is likely to be met with opposition from Democrats.prevnext
Another Relief Bill Is Not Needed, Accordng to Larry Kudlow
On Thursday, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow offered a grim outlook for anyone holding out hope on additional direct payments when he suggested that such a provision may not be needed at all. Speaking with Politico's Ben White, Kudlow stated his belief that the economy could make a comeback without another relief package at all.
"I think we are [able to continue recovering without financial stimulus]," Kudlow said. "If the virus continues to flatten after this tough summer of spiking, I think you'll see more businesses reopen, even those that might have paused will come back online [and] more people are going to come back to work."prevnext
What's Holding Them Up?
Although there are a number of things that could potentially be holding up the next package, and likewise the next round of stimulus payments, the most pressing issue seems to be the Safeguarding America's Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy law, also referred to as the Safe to Work Act. According to Yahoo, this law would give businesses and schools federal immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits.
Republicans are fierce proponents of including it in any future legislation, believing that it is necessary to protect the economy from lawsuits with "meritless" claims. They are said to be unwilling to budge on this. Democrats, meanwhile, have long opposed this, as they feel it too stringently limits what an injured or impacted individual can do if they believe a business or institution was responsible.
As for what experts think? Many believed that both sides are being too contentious over something that many experts argue isn't really even needed.prevnext
Negotiations at "Tragic Impasse"
Currently, Americans shouldn't be expecting negotiations to resume anytime soon. On Thursday, after weeks of no discussions being held, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke held a 25-minute phone conversation which led nowhere.
In a statement released just after their conversation, Pelosi announced that negotiations are at "a tragic impasse." She claimed that "the White House continues to disregard the needs of the American people" and the GOP "continue to turn their backs on the American people." She said that the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge "the funding levels that experts, scientists and the American people know is needed." She added that "Democrats are willing to resume negotiations once Republicans start to take this process seriously."prevnext
Over the course of negotiations, multiple estimates have been given as to when Americans could expect to receive their next payment. At first, it had largely been believed that the IRS could begin distributing payments as early as mid to late August, as congressional lawmakers have stated a desire to strike a deal by Aug. 7, after which they were set to enter recess. As that deadline approached and then passed, a new timeline seemed to be mid to late September. With August now nearing a close, however, and negotiations still stalled, it appears as though Americans will have to wait months.
A new estimate from The Motley Fool suggested stimulus payments will not go out until sometime in October, if they go out at all. This estimate largely relies on the fact that members of Congress are not set to return to Capitol Hill until mid-September, and negotiations still seem to be stalled.prevnext
Americans Fear a Deal Won't Be Reached
As negotiations remain stalled, Americans are quickly losing hope. A poll from YouGov/The Economist found that one in five Americans fear that Congress won't reach a deal on another stimulus relief package. Of the 1,500 people tallied in the poll, only 5% said that they thought a deal would be reached in the next week. The remainder of participants expressed a belief that a deal would be struck, though it wouldn’t happen anytime soon, believing that a deal would be reached within the next month, and the others thinking it would be within the next two months.prev