House Democrats are prioritizing enhanced unemployment insurance and a direct stimulus check in their new coronavirus aid bill. The House of Representatives is working on a new, refined proposal for another stimulus package, Politico reported on Thursday, dropping over $1 trillion from their last formal bill. Many Americans are paying close attention to what was left in and what was dropped.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly directed high-ranking lawmakers to draft new legislation for a stimulus package, with a price cap of $2.4 trillion. Insiders said that this bill will contain the programs that most American individuals are most concerned with: the unemployment aid, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the stimulus check itself. While the direct payment was one of the few areas where Democrats and Republicans previously agreed in their negotiations, the unemployment aid remains a sticking point. Meanwhile, some critics still believe there is fat to be trimmed from the bill.
The stimulus check is likely to be worth up to $1,200 based on income, judging by the most recent proposals in both the House and the Senate. Any taxpayer with an annual gross income of $75,000 or less on their most recent tax return would get the full amount, and it would decrease incrementally from there.
The big difference between the two sides in the most recent negotiations was how to pay dependents — Democrats proposed $1,200 per dependent with a limit of three, while Republicans wanted $500 per dependent with no limit. In either case, this included adult dependents, unlike the first round of stimulus checks.
However, the unemployment insurance was one of the most divisive issues in the first round of negotiations, and there is no reason to believe it will not remain so this time around. Democrats sought to renew the unemployment program from the CARES Act as-is — providing $600 per week to unemployed Americans on top of their state's unemployment program. Republicans wanted to cut that to $200 per week, with a long-term plan to calculate unemployment based on income, but with a firm cap of $500 per week.
At this point, Americans are less concerned with the particulars of the bill than whether or not it will actually get the attention it needs to pass. Republicans previously ignored a House bill for over two months, and now there are more distractions in Washington, D.C. than ever. From the 2020 presidential election to the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice, there is no guarantee that this new legislation will get a vote any time soon.