- Millions of Americans hit hard by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic are waiting for another stimulus check update, hoping the federal government takes action on a new relief program of some kind.
- The odds are looking better that might happen sooner than later, especially as the coronavirus is continuing to ravage both public health and the US economy.
- Here’s a look at a number of coronavirus stimulus proposals on the table, and why it’s looking increasingly likely the Trump administration will try something new along these lines fairly soon.
When you think back to the end of March, which is when Congress passed the massive, $2.2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief package that funded direct stimulus payments to most Americans, it doesn’t look that long ago on the calendar. Yet, somehow, March feels like practically a lifetime ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic has lingered and turned most of our lives inside-out, wrecking the economy, and spurring a public health crisis like we haven’t seen before in our lifetimes.
In terms of the latest in the fight against the virus, researchers are making promising headway on finding drugs to combat the virus — which is definitely good news, since cases are surging in some parts of the US right now. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday basically told everyone the economy is going to be screwed for years because of coronavirus, which it just so happens came only a few days after a Trump administration official told US Senators the administration is seriously considering sending out a new round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
That official was US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and while he didn’t tell members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship during a recent appearance what kind of action the administration might take or when, he didn’t mince words about the basic idea: “I think we’re going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy,” is how he put it, according to Fox Business.
Irrespective of whatever action the administration decides to take, a handful of new stimulus ideas have been proposed by national lawmakers — and some are even formally on the table already. For example, Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, has called for a $2,000-per-month payment to all Americans who earn up to $120,000 per year. Her package would provide as much as $4,000 for married couples and $2,000 for each eligible child.
Meanwhile, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has passed a new stimulus package that includes money for an extension of the original stimulus check effort, and it would provide $1,200 to individuals and as much as $6,000 for households. And other ideas have been floated outside of direct payments to Americans, such as the Explore America tax credit we wrote about yesterday. The idea here, which Trump himself is on the record as supporting in principle, is for the tax credit to pay back Americans up to 50% of what they spend on things like airfare, hotels, car rentals, and restaurants — theoretically spurring them to do more of those things to help the economy right now. The credit would apply to eligible expenses this year as well as in 2021, and it would max out at $4,000 per household.