The inclusion of a second round of checks as part of a new stimulus package was the surprise news on Wednesday. What seemed to be ruled out in the discussion of a new economic package in the U.S. Congress, resurfaced as part of the plan. The much-repeated stimulus checks would be part of the new aid that members of the federal Legislature would soon approve, according to national media reports Wednesday.
The bipartisan Senate package that serves as the main draft to reach an agreement and make way for new financial aid for coronavirus included extension of unemployment aid, but not direct payments to individuals and families.
However, amidst pressure from Senators like Bernie Sanders and members of the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party such as the members of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives to include minimum $1,200 checks in a new package, Republicans appear to have begun to give way on the issue as part of the negotiations.
And now these incentives are the big surprise as part of the negotiations in Washington DC.
South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune, the second most powerful Senator there, told reporters on Capitol Hill yesterday that second round stimulus checks would range from $600 to $700 per person.
Sanders also indicated in an interview with CNN that the checks would be at least $600, which would be a midpoint of the $1,200 proposal.
In line with the White House offer
That amount is equivalent to that contained in the latest White House proposal that was publicly launched by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Trump Administration’s plan would provide for stimulus checks of $600 per individual.
Initially, that offer had been rejected by top Democratic leaders in Congress such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because it did not provide for extended unemployment assistance.
The draft basis for the negotiations
In the case of the $908 billion bipartisan base bill being considered by federal lawmakers, the extension in aid to Americans would be an additional $300 per week through March.
The measure was divided into two parts to separate the more controversial issues in the discussion from the rest of the proposals and to make it easier to reach an agreement.
The expectation is that in the next few hours before the deadline to pass a new spending bill to prevent the federal government from closing down, Congress will also pass economic stimulus legislation.