House votes to increase stimulus check amount to $2,000, but will it make it through the Senate? – Forbes Advisor – Community News
Stimulus Check

House votes to increase stimulus check amount to $2,000, but will it make it through the Senate? – Forbes Advisor

Editor’s Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made through affiliate links on this page, but that does not affect the opinions or evaluations of our editors.

On Monday, the House voted to increase the amount of the second stimulus checks to $2,000 and the measure passed by a two-thirds vote. Then it went to the Senate, where Senate leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday blocked an attempt by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to unanimously pass the House-passed bill to increase direct payments in the coronavirus relief package from $2,000 to $2,000.

The Senate may consider the legislation this week, though Senate Democrats have said they will vote for increased stimulus payments, but Senate Republicans have signaled opposition, meaning it’s unlikely to pass if passed. voted.

President Donald Trump had already signed the coronavirus emergency bill Sunday night, which included $600 stimulus checks, preventing a government shutdown and releasing billions in aid to states, businesses and individuals — but he renewed his call to $2,000 checks for individuals. Trump initially said he would not sign the bill until Congress increased individual stimulus checks to $2,000 per eligible person ($4,000 per couple), but capitulated under pressure from his congressional allies, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The bipartisan agreement on the Covid relief bill comes as many of the safety nets passed by the CARES bill in March, including expanded unemployment benefits, have expired or will expire at the end of the month.

On December 16, President-elect Joe Biden said this aid package, which is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, is the first part of what is to come when he takes office in January.

[Want to know what your stimulus payment will be? Use our stimulus payment calculator to find out.]

“…It’s a down payment, an important down payment for what needs to be done from late January to February, but it’s very important that it gets done,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

But the gap between what the package offers and what Americans need is huge. The stimulus measures and the increased unemployment support are significantly less than what was foreseen in the March CARES law.

Here’s what the bill Trump signed up for — and just as importantly, what’s been left out.

What does the new emergency law for the coronavirus say?

The new stimulus package includes funding for a new round of stimulus, continued improved unemployment benefits, funding for small business aid and the Paycheck Protection Program. The rollout of these incentive benefits comes when they need it most: 19 million Americans are on unemployment benefits of some kind; nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer, and about 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities by January, according to analysis by Moody’s Analytics.

$600 . incentive checks

The new stimulus package includes another round of economic impact payments, known as stimulus checks, to Americans. The new bill provides for $600 for individuals who meet certain income requirements and an additional $600 per eligible child.

The payment amount is reduced by $5 for every $100 made above the income thresholds of $75,000 for individuals, $150,000 for married couples applying jointly, and $112,500 for heads of household. These income thresholds are based on 2019 tax information. Individuals earning $87,000 or more will not receive a check; nor married couples who jointly file $174,000 or more, or householders earning $124,500 or more.

These checks will be significantly smaller than those provided for by the CARES Act, which raised $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples filing jointly and an additional $600 per dependent, before income thresholds phased out the amounts.

Another important caveat on the next round of incentive payments: only children qualify as dependents eligible for the extra $600. This means that 13.5 million adult dependents, including students, are still being claimed burden on their parents, but who could benefit from the support, are not taken into account. It also excludes adults who qualify as dependents due to disabilities. Incentive payments will also be given to families where one of the parents is not a citizen.

It’s not clear exactly when the checks will be sent, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said direct deposits could begin as early as a week after the bill was signed.

Calculator: Second stimulus check: how much are you getting and when?

Extensive increased unemployment benefits

The federal government will provide up to an additional $300 in unemployment benefits per week through March.

The boost is half of what the CARES bill offered, but will no doubt be a welcome lifeline for Americans. The most recent jobs report revealed that more than 19 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment aid and job growth is stalling.

Gig workers, self-employed persons and self-employed persons remain eligible for unemployment benefits, as initially provided for in the CARES Act.

Calculator: How Much Unemployment Can You Get In Your Country?

Housing help

The new bill provides for two housing provisions: an extension of the CDC’s eviction moratorium through Jan. 31, and $25 billion in tenant emergency relief funds that can be used to pay back rent, future rent and utility bills.

Tenants may qualify if:

  • They have a household income of less than 80% of the median income of their area;
  • One or more members of the household can demonstrate that they are at risk of becoming homeless or unstable due to utility or tenancy notice, an eviction notice, or living in unsafe or unhealthy living conditions;
  • One or more family members are eligible for unemployment benefits or are having a hard time financially due to Covid-19

In some cases, tenants must provide a written statement stating that they meet the requirements.

While Democrats have long sought money for housing aid, the CDC’s moratorium has been heavily criticized as a superficial form of aid. Based on the suspension of payments, any rent owed is still due; tenants are simply protected from eviction if they can’t make their payments, but there are reports of evictions continuing despite the ban. Experts say more needs to be done to prevent housing insecurity among low- and middle-income households who will be most affected during the pandemic.

Payroll Protection Program Financing

The Paycheck Protection Program, also known as PPP, will receive an additional $284 billion in funding. The program makes loans of up to $10 million to businesses and can be waived if companies use the money for specific criteria, including using at least 75% of it to continue paying employees or rehiring employees who are affected by the pandemic. have been fired or fired. .

Read more: Here’s What You Can Do Now to Ensure Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness

Special ‘Lookback’ for Income Tax Rebate and Child Tax Rebate

The stimulus bill allows you to use the earned income of the tax year 2019 to determine your Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit. A summary of the bill states, “This will help workers who experience lower wages this year due to the pandemic receive a larger refund that is consistent with their earnings from previous filing seasons.”

What is not included?

The new incentive law largely leaves no additional relief for borrowers who have federal student loans.

The CARES Act allowed federal student loans, without interest, to be deferred until September 30 this year; President Donald Trump extended the grace period twice — once to December 31 and again to January 31, 2021.

Striking is the omission of an extended grace period in the new bill. A recent two-pronged stimulus proposal would have extended the grace period to April 30, 2021.

President-elect Biden has expressed his support for $10,000 in federal student loan waivers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Congress could bet on the next president to handle future student loans.

It also disregards broader state and local funding. Democrats have included support for states in their HEROES bill passed by the House in May, and it became a major source of contention during recent negotiations. States, many of which were already struggling, have plunged into financial crises during the pandemic. The CARES Act provided $150 billion in aid to state and local governments, and many experts correctly predicted that it would not be enough to offset budget deficits caused by the pandemic.

Republicans, especially President Trump, have largely fought back against the idea of ​​giving states more financial support. Trump has used state funding as a political weapon, saying that certain states run by Democrats should no longer receive aid.