Will Americans get another round of stimulus checks?
More will be known today, May 15, when the House is set to vote on the proposed and historic $3 trillion stimulus bill which would help offset the devastating effects the virus has had on the economy and the health-care system, reports CNBC. If there are enough votes to pass the bill today, it then moves on to the Republican-controlled Senate.
The White House offered the following statement: “As President Trump has said, we are going to ensure that we take care of all Americans so that we emerge from this challenge healthy, stronger, and with economic prosperity, which is why the White House is focused on pro-growth, middle class tax and regulatory relief.”
The more than 1,800-page package includes over $1 trillion in relief for state and local governments, around $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers, called the “Heroes Fund,” and $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing.
It also includes a second round of direct payments of $1,200 per person, and up to $6,000 per household.
The second wave of payments would help Americans who have found themselves furloughed, or laid off, and who are unable to provide for their families, or to pay their bills.
Payments would begin to be reduced by five percent once the “taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income” exceeds “$150,000 in the case of a joint return or a surviving spouse,” “$112,500 in the case of a head of household” and “$75,000 in any other case.”
Similar to the process for determining eligibility for stimulus checks in the CARES Act, which offered Americans $1,200, the federal government will determine eligibility through people’s 2019 tax returns. If they have not yet filed them, then the IRS will reference their 2018 tax returns.
The bill also allows for an extension of the $600 per week federal unemployment insurance benefit through January, which is currently set to expire in July.
A total of 36.5 million Americans have applied for unemployment since mid-March, according to the Labor Department, making it on track to be the worst since the Great Depression.
House Democrats may face a roadblock from House Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who made his views known in a tweet that called the bill a “liberal wishlist” and “waste of taxpayer time.”
In further tweets, he called the move a “power grab” so that Democrats can “stay home and continue collecting a paycheck.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she is open to negotiating.
"We’re putting our offer on the table, we’re open to negotiation," Pelosi said, acknowledging that she's aware the bill will not be received well.
"It is important to note that more than 80 percent of the priorities in the Heroes Act have been supported by the Republicans in the four previous COVID-19 acts of Congress. We are proud of how we built on that bipartisanship and look forward to negotiations For The People," Pelosi wrote, according to ABC.
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