It seems that despite the controversy around the Presidential race having mostly subsided and the transition of power being underway, we will not be receiving a second round of stimulus checks before the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is making his prediction that there will not be a relief plan passed before 2021 a reality by rejecting the $900 billion bipartisan stimulus package proposal in congress today. This comes a day after he said that “there is no reason — none — why we should not deliver another major pandemic relief package to help the American people through what seems poised to be the last chapters of this battle.”
The $900 billion proposal included increased funding to supplemental unemployment benefits, small business aid—such as the often abused Paycheck Protection Program—child care, as well as contact-tracing and vaccination efforts. That proposal did not include direct payment to American citizens.
The proposal also included a controversial provision that would prevent lawsuits on the federal level related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a point that Democrats have largely disapproved of.
On both sides of the aisle, the need to pass a bill is apparent. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has said that “it is absolutely essential that we pass emergency relief.”
Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia told CNBC’s Squawk Box, “If there’s one thing I’m hearing uniformly it’s: ‘Congress, do not leave town for the holidays leaving the country and the economy adrift with all these initial CARES [Act] programs running out.’”
Even McConnell has been quoted as saying that “we just don’t have time to waste time.”
There are multiple factors that are adding pressure to the time crunch. Firstly, Americans are struggling now more than ever as the length of the pandemic has begun to put citizens in dire straights. COVID-19 cases are currently skyrocketing and things are looking to get worse before they get better.
Secondly, all of the provisions from the first stimulus relief package are set to expire at the turn of the new year. And thirdly, if a bill is not passed by December 11th, there will be a government shutdown, ensuring that there will be a lapse in economic relief efforts and forcing the Biden administration to work from even farther behind.
The bill that McConnell is proposing is the smaller one valued at $500 billion that he has been championing throughout the stalled negotiations. Ultimately, regardless of politics, it is clear that something needs to be done and needs to be done soon. Whether or not that means that it will be done effectively is unclear. What is clear is that you will not be getting another stimulus check any time soon.