STIMULUS

Trump $1.8 trillion stimulus plan: what unemployment benefits and checks does it include?

The U.S. economy waits for more support as it claws its way back from an unprecedented collapse while a three-way tug of war plays out between the Republicans, Democrats and the White House.

Trump $1.8 trillion stimulus plan: what unemployment benefits and checks does it include?
OLIVIER DOULIERY EFE

The past week has seen a roller coaster ride of news on stimulus for the battered U.S. economy badly in need of more help to keep the recovery going as it begins to lag.  Early last week, fresh out of hospital the President kiboshed any hope of a negotiated deal between House Democrats and the White House via a tweet sending markets at first into a panic.  Only to then turn right around upon receiving blowback for his decision to stop talks. 

Later in the week  with negotiations resumed between Nancy Pelosi and the administration Trump seemed to want to make an offer even more generous than the Democrat position while talking to Rush Limbaugh.  Apart from Trump's mixed messages either in interviews or via tweet, both Democrats and Republicans turned up their noses at his plan costing $1.8 trillion, for the former not enough directed funds nor action on fighting the pandemic and the latter for the price tag, nearly twice what they could stomach.

With accusations flying all around and people losing their jobs is there any hope for another stimulus package?

In a letter on Sunday to the House and Senate Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treeasury, and Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, touted the bipartisan effort to help American workers and businesses at the onset of the crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic.  However, they feel now that the Democrats are not negotiating in good faith through the bills that they have put through the House. 

But even if they reach a deal with the Democrats, they would have to get the Senate Republicans to agree to a package they see as much too expensive.  Not only that, according to CNN concerns were expressed in a conference call the day before at how any deal could distract from the focus on the Amy Coney Barrett nominating process currently fast-tracked in the Senate due to finish before the election. 

On the other side, in a letter from Nancy Pelosi today, posted on Twitter, she claims that the only reason Trump wants to get the stimulus checks out before the election is to get a bump in the market and for voters to see his name on the checks.  Ms. Pelosi lists off 8 main areas of contention with the administration but finishes the letter stating that the isssues detailed "Are not exhaustive of our many outstanding concerns.  Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal's deficiencies,"  So, it appears the impasse will continue for the foreseeable future.

What is in Trump's plan?

Mark Meadows has expressed doubt about a comprehensive bill but feels that a deal can be struck on some standalone points, but he may be overly optimistic as Nancy Pelosi sees those as points of discussion for developing a broader bill.

  • $1200 stimulus checks: Just as in the CARES Act eligible individuals would receive $1200 based on income. New this time around though the amount for dependents has been upped to $1000 higher than the original amount in the HEROES Act passed recently by the House of $500, just as in the CARES Act.
  • $400 in weekly federal unemployment insurance: According to the Wall Street Journal the administration's latest proposal these benefits would resume through 21 January, 2021. The Democrats want $600 through January 2021.
  • Paycheck Protection Program: This was part of the CARES Act passed in March, to help small businesses keep employees on their payroll using forgivable loans. The main sticking point for the Democrats is that they want it to be more targeted and not first come first serve.
  • Airline assistance: Trump has asked for $25 billion for the airlines to prevent more furloughs and hire back those that have been already. The House has been pushing for $28 billion. Previously, Nancy Pelosi has expressed a desire to pass this piece of legislation separately, but last week said that it would need to be part of a larger deal.

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