Oil Prices Rise as GOP Plots New Stimulus Package

As conversations about a second round of stimulus checks continue to heat up, oil prices have risen across the U.S. in hopes that the economy is being revitalized. As Business Insider noted, Brent crude oil went up to $43.41 a barrel, a spike of 7 cents, as US West Texas Intermediate topped out at $41.60 a barrel, up 31 cents.

"If we can put more money into the pockets of consumers, they're going to spend it on goods and services," said Price Futures Senior Analyst Phil Flynn. "That should lead to more gasoline demand, more travel and more shopping." The news comes as the value of the U.S. dollar bottomed out over economic concerns and the current trade war with China. The last time it was at a rate this low was back in June of 2018.

The demand for oil has risen recently after lockdown measures caused it to plummet throughout the second quarter of 2020. Although the current rise in demand is uneven, given many parts of the U.S. have been reimposing lockdown measures due to the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Senate Republicans have been debating what will be included in the proposed $1 trillion stimulus package, and while there's been nothing definitive, some aspects have started to become apparent. However, Senate Democrats have been less than thrilled with the progress that's been made. "From what has been reported, the GOP is drafting a woefully inadequate COVID proposal with nothing on rental assistance, hazard pay for essential workers, aid to state, local, and tribal governments, or investments in communities of color," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted Monday.

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What has been discussed is that the second one-time payout will roughly equal the $1,200 provided by the CARES Act, which was passed back in March not long after coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. There will be a lower income threshold than before, along with a substantial amount of funding for public schools, although some of those funds will possibly be tied to them reopening for the upcoming term.

Given that the new bill, which is dubbed the HEALS Act, will cost just under half of the CARES Act, several provisions are likely not to be included. This list includes student loan relief and payroll tax cuts. It will likely include extra unemployment benefits, though less than afforded by the CARES Act.