The talks between Congress and the White House over a second federal stimulus package have slowly gained traction, but one thing that remains in question is the expansion of food stamps. The GOP’s latest plan does not include this, while the Democrats remain adamant in getting something agreed upon when it comes to food assistance.
When the Democrats put together their $3.5 billion proposal, they had orchestrated a 15% increase on SNAP benefits through the end of September 2021. There also was an additional $10 billion designated for the program through the duration of the pandemic. The GOP, though, does not view this program as an essential matter, thus leading to one of the biggest squabbles in discussions. Some hope was gained on Tuesday that Republicans could be convinced when Pat Roberts, a Republican out of Kansas, revealed to The Associated Press that he has voiced his support to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Roberts said they are reviewing the matter, and he thinks “we can get a positive result.” He added that he expects if this topic can get corrected, it would lead to some of their other issues being resolved, and the progression of getting a second stimulus package together would be sped up.
Ever since the first package was announced in March, the public has been eagerly awaiting another round of financial support, especially as coronavirus cases continue to climb and some of the benefits, like the extra boost in unemployment pay, have expired. McConnell said on Tuesday that he is ready to support the bill whenever it comes in front of him, but says it has to come down to the Democrats and the White House agreeing on something first. While things have somewhat prolonged in terms of the two sides talking, there remains optimism that something will get done as both sides are ready to move forward with $1,200 checks to individuals once again but still have a few more hoops to get through to come to an agreement.
A need for another stimulus plan has only amplified with a handful of states having to turn back on its reopening schedule as COVID-19 cases continue to be an Achilles’ heel for the country. The United States is currently on its ninth day in a row with more than 1,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, with more than 4.74 million cases since the pandemic began.