Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Why was there a proposal for a $10,000 stimulus check and could it pass?

A Republican went big in mocking the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, and even filed an extreme amendment to the bill in the House to make his point.

Why was there a proposal for a $10,000 stimulus check and could it pass?
KEVIN LAMARQUE REUTERS

The House of Representatives on Saturday voted to approve a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a step which means it will be sent to the Senate this week and could be passed within a matter of days. But the late night vote came before an hours-long marathon of debates and proposed amendments among the 431 House members.

The large-scale spending bill that principally is aimed at stabilising the economy, ramping up vaccine distribution and providing millions of Americans with direct $1,400 stimulus payments also contains a number of non-coronavirus related budgetary measures.

Many Republicans have not taken to these extra measures too kindly, least of all Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who in protest submitted an amendment that proposed cutting all non-relief spending, instead offering $10,000 targeted stimulus checks.

What did Gosar say about the $10,000 stimulus check proposal?

“I offered an amendment to prioritise $10,000 stimulus checks to Americans most affected by covid-19 and lockdowns,” Gosar said in a statement to Fox News Saturday. “Instead, Democrats chose foreign aid, Big Tech transit, and Pelosi’s political priorities over direct relief to American citizens.”

Gosar’s amendment called for the removal of 10 agenda items out of the American Rescue Plan’s more than 200 sections, including funding for the arts, federal and corporate transit projects, “vaccine confidence activities” and foreign aid.

“People need help with car payments, mortgage and rent, and everyday necessities,” Gosar said. “The government broke it. Now government must fix it. The people, not corporations or billionaires, need this money to survive,” he added, saying a $10,000 stimulus check should be considered “a down payment.”

Gosar offered his amendment in absence, as he didn’t attend the vote on Saturday in favour of a white nationalist event in Florida. The extreme stunt was presented at the eleventh-hour and needless to say, the bill passed without any such changes.

Parts of the stimulus bill that aren’t related to covid-19

So what’s nestled in among the vaccine distribution money, food stamps and unemployment benefits provisions?

The New York Times reports that among the 5,593 page bill there are a wide variety of other measures. One of the most contested non-relief proposals is a further tax cut which applies to businesses who received federal loans during the spring.

The loans are due to be forgiven, tax-free providing the businesses retain employees on their payrolls throughout the pandemic. However under the new measure, any expenditure under these loans would be tax deductible. It’s a provision that experts say amount to around $200 billion in tax hand outs, around $120bn of which would end up in the hands of the top 1%.

Other policy changes included in the bill, beyond the $900 billion set aside for strictly-coronavirus policies include a simplification of federal financial aid forms, measures to address climate change and a provision to stop “surprise billing” from hospitals when patients unwittingly receive care from physicians out of their insurance networks, according to the Times.

The bill would also make it a felony to provide illegal streaming services and set up an initiative to eradicate the murder hornet, a growingly urgent threat to the bee population.

Half a million dead from coronavirus in US

Last week, the country recorded yet another grim milestone: more than 500,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

Around 28.4 million people have been infected with the virus in the US, according to the latest figures.

For all of the latest updates on the stimulus checks and tax credits as they happen, follow our dedicated live feed