Another Round of $1,200 Stimulus Checks Expected with $1 Trillion CARES ACT II
Washington, DC - After a botched roll-out last week, Senate Republicans and the White House introduced another round of coronavirus relief legislation. As expected, the bill includes an additional shot of stimulus by providing $1,200 in direct payments to adults, depending on income and family status.
The bill stalled in the Senate last week after divisions about the additional $600 per week in unemployment payment, which has now expired. CNBC reported that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the target would be paying about 70 percent of workers' previous wages. Many in the business community expressed concern that the extra $600 payment creates scenarios where workers make more money through unemployment than when employed. Upwards of 30 million Americans are still receiving some form of unemployment.
The bill also contains more than $100 billion for reopening schools and colleges as well as additional money for the Paycheck Protection Program used by small businesses to stay afloat while closed or operating at reduced capacity.
While the House of Representatives passed an additional $3 trillion package earlier this spring, this Senate proposal is closer to $1 trillion. Many expect this bill to have a hard getting through Congress like earlier coronavirus related bills due to the vast differences in costs, while some Republicans do not believe an additional stimulus package is necessary at all.
An additional point of contention is the bill's liability protections for businesses, schools, and other organizations, which is similar to a bill sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr during the Alabama Legislature's abbreviated 2020 regular session. Though heavily supported by the powerful Business Council of Alabama, the bill did not pass after the Alabama House of Representatives declined to take up any bills not related to the budgets. Democrats believe the liability protections could allow businesses to get away with suspect working environments during a pandemic, while Republicans maintain that many small businesses would be inundated with frivolous lawsuits and refuse to open without a layer of liability protection.
Congress generally takes a summer recess, which is scheduled to begin at the end of next week. Negotiations between House and Senate leaders are expected to begin shortly.