Second Coronavirus Stimulus Bill in the Works—If Congress Can Agree

Americans could receive another stimulus payment this summer, but politics could slow things down
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Americans struggling financially could receive another stimulus payment in 2020 if Congress can agree on another bill to help consumers, boost employment, businesses and the economy.

The U.S. is slowly reopening businesses as several states have allowed partial attendance at restaurants, shopping malls and hair salons. But a large percentage of Americans are still grappling with job losses, furloughs and mounting debt as the forbearances on their mortgage payments and car loans end in June.

The number of unemployed Americans rose to over 38 million last week while millions of people are still waiting for their federal stimulus checks and several states are still processing unemployment claims. The coronavirus shut down small to medium-sized companies and many were unable to keep operating and laid off millions of workers.

President Donald Trump said, “I think we’re going to be helping people out” and “getting some money for them” on Thursday in response to the loss of income.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told CNN on Friday that people could see a second round of funds and that passage of another bill is “pretty likely” and could occur “sooner rather than later.”

But Congress has not been able to agree on another stimulus bill. The House passed a $3 trillion stimulus package last week, dubbed the HEROES Act, with Democrats seeking a wide-ranging package to get more money out to people and also expand mail-in ballot access to make voting more accessible and safer. The bill awaits approval by the Senate, but the Senate shut down for a 10-day Memorial Day vacation without addressing it. 

A second stimulus check sought by Democrats–giving individuals up to another $1,200— has not received resistance from Trump.

Along with the cash payments, the HEROES Act includes $1 trillion in aid to states and localities, would extend unemployment benefits, tack on premium pay for essential workers such as health care workers, help cover some rents and mortgages, forgive some student loan debts and subsidize Cobra health-insurance payments for laid-off workers, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The Republican-led Senate is taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether the country needs another stimulus bill. Politicians have not agreed on how long Americans should receive federal unemployment funds - Democrats want to extend the $600-a-week benefit by six months while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he wants it to end in July.

The House will be in session for a portion of this week,  but the Senate will not meet again until June 1.

In March, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, the CARES Act, which included a one-time payment of up to $1,200 as a stopgap measure to help Americans pay their bills and buy groceries. Individuals received up to $1,200 for individuals and married couples received a total of $2,400, plus $500 for each child.

A Bankrate.com report found that 31% of U.S. adults who anticipated receiving a stimulus check believe that the money would be insufficient to sustain their financial well-being for one month. Fifty percent of the people said the stimulus check would help them pay their monthly bills such as their rent or mortgage and utilities. The survey revealed that 41% said they would spend the money for day-to-day essentials such as food and medicine.

Nearly half or 47% of U.S. adults, equal to about 120 million people, currently have credit card debt, compared to 43% in early March, according to a May CreditCards.com report. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 23% of credit card debtors, or about 28 million U.S. adults, said their credit card debt rose because of the pandemic.