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Congress is finally about to pass a new relief bill with $600 stimulus checks and more

Published Dec 21st, 2020 10:02AM EST
Stimulus package update
Image: Rod Lamkey - CNP/MEGA
  • Congress has reached an agreement on a new stimulus package and is expected to vote on the final bill on Monday before sending it to President Trump’s desk.
  • The new package includes $600 stimulus checks, $284 billion for the PPP, $300 per week in extra unemployment insurance, and an extension of the eviction moratorium.
  • If any senators oppose the bill, the vote could be delayed by several days.

Following months of inaction and failed dealmaking, Congressional Democrats and Republicans have finally struck a deal on a new stimulus package to assist the millions of Americans struggling through the height of the pandemic. On Sunday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Congress would “pass another rescue package ASAP,” and if all goes accordingly, the House and Senate should vote on the bill today.

As late as Friday, it was unclear if the two parties would be able to get something done before the year ended and a number of provisions from the CARES Act expired, but the final hurdle was overcome when Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) agreed to drop language in the bill that would have significantly rolled back the Federal Reserve’s expanded lending powers. He admitted that “Democrats made a fair point” about the language being too broad.

Congress should reveal the final language of the bill in the coming hours, but in a joint statement on Sunday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ran down the main provisions:

  • A new round of stimulus checks of up to $600 per adult and child
  • Over $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions
  • $20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Grants
  • $25 billion in rental assistance and an extension of the eviction moratorium
  • $300 per week unemployment insurance enhancement for jobless Americans
  • $82 billion for college and schools to reopen classrooms safely
  • $10 billion for child care assistance to get parents back to work
  • $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits
  • $7 billion to increase access to broadband internet
  • Tax credit to support employer offering paid sick leave

In order for the package to pass, CNN says that a number of steps need to be taken on Capitol Hill. With the final bill having been written, the text should be unveiled soon. Once it is presented, the House Rules Committee will consider the stimulus package, which will take hours. They will then schedule a debate on the House floor and begin setting up votes. Providing the bill passes the House, it then moves to the Senate, where all 100 senators need to consent for a vote to be scheduled. If all 100 are in agreement, Sen. McConnell can initiate a quick vote, and the bill could be on President Trump’s desk by tonight. If not, it will probably take a few days to set up a vote.

It might not be the sweeping relief House Democrats have been trying to pass since May, but with COVID-19 surging across the country, unemployment once again on the rise, and widespread vaccine distribution still months away, the American people are going to have to take what they can get from this 116th US Congress.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.