There will be no second stimulus in 2020: Congress discusses other issues

There will be no second stimulus in 2020: Congress discusses other issues
There will be no second stimulus in 2020: Congress discusses other issues

12 million in the US have yet to claim stimulus money 0:47

(CNN) –– Even with the dramatic increase in coronavirus cases in the United States and the entry into force of new restrictions, Congress remains stuck negotiating a second economic stimulus for Americans in need.

While there is support from both Republicans and Democrats for another round of grants, Americans are unlikely to get a second stimulus check before the end of the year. In fact, lawmakers have failed to agree on a broader package of financial aid.

Congress returns to Washington this week. And it will be focused on passing a broader spending bill by December 11 to avoid a partial government shutdown. Although, it is possible that some relief programs can be added to that extensive expense proposal.

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Now, if that becomes the case, those provisions may extend programs that expire on December 31. Among them, improved unemployment benefits, eviction protections, and a pause in student loan payments.

Disagreements over new stimulus checks

Since the summer, lawmakers have said little about a second round of stimulus checks. The most recent proposal for a stimulus package was put forward by Republicans, who currently control the Senate. And this project did not include money for direct payments.

President-elect Joe Biden supports a $ 3 trillion bill, which has been pushed by Democrats and passed by the House of Representatives last May. That proposal included a second round of stimulus checks. However, that package has little chance of being approved in Congress. Unless Democrats win control of the Senate if they win Georgia’s two runoff elections scheduled for January 5.

What will happen to the stimulus plan in the US?

More than 160 million Americans received economic stimulus payments at the beginning of the year. Precisely after Congress approved a $ 2 trillion aid package in March. These funds helped keep many families out of poverty, as millions of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

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But, in many cases, that check for $ 1,200 has already been spent. Now, as coronavirus cases skyrocket, a group of more than 120 economists urged lawmakers to pass another round of checks. These funds, they argued, are “one of the fastest, most equitable and effective ways to get families and the economy back on track.”

Congress has already allowed some aid programs to expire. These include the Small Business Check Paying Protection Program (PPP) and the federal $ 600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits.

But other measures end this month. If Congress adds any stimulus to the overhead bill, it can prioritize pushing those expiration dates back.

Enhanced unemployment benefits

As part of the historic improvement to unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, lawmakers created three programs to help unemployed Americans. One of them, the $ 600 aid payment increase, lasted only four months. But, the other two are valid until the week ending December 26, the last weekend of the year.

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One of them, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, allows independent contractors, the self-employed and temporary workers to qualify for payments. It also opens the program to those unable to work due to the pandemic. Even if they or their family members are sick or quarantined or their children’s schools are closed.

The other program, called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, provides an additional 13 weeks of subsidies paid at the federal level to those left without state payments, typically lasting 26 weeks.

Pause in student loan payments

In March, the US government automatically suspended payments and exempted federal student loans from paying interest. That meant that millions of young borrowers were able to stop making their monthly payments without their balances increasing.

Initially, the relief – included in Congress’ $ 2 trillion stimulus package – expired at the end of September. But President Donald pushed the date back to Dec. 31 through executive action.

If neither Trump nor Congress takes action to delay the deadline, millions of student loan payments will be due. And it will be just a couple of weeks before Biden takes office on January 20. Even if Biden reinstates the pause retroactively, it could create confusion for both borrowers and mess for student loan processors, who are not used to stopping or starting payment suddenly.

Eviction Protection

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An order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that went into effect in September temporarily halted the evictions until the end of the year. The measure includes tenants who meet certain income requirements, have experienced significant income losses, and have made every effort to find rental assistance in order to pay their rent.

Since the order does not cancel or freeze rent, all of a tenant’s back rent will expire on January 1 if the moratorium is allowed to expire. Without rent relief or an extension of protection, many struggling tenants will face eviction again.

An eviction moratorium established by Congress in March protected only tenants who receive federal assistance or live in rental properties with financing supported by the federal government. That protection expired during the summer.

Paid family leave

At the beginning of the year, lawmakers expanded paid family leave benefits for many workers who become ill or care for someone else.

The measure was limited to employees of companies with fewer than 500 workers, but provided up to two weeks of paid sick leave and an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave for parents who need to care for children whose schools have closed.

However, the payments are limited. Also, small businesses can request exemptions from the provisions that affect workers whose children’s schools have closed.

Those benefits will also expire on December 31.

Tami Luhby and Lauren Fox, both from CNN, contributed to this report.

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