Senate Leadership Agrees on $900 Billion Stimulus Package, Includes $600 Checks to Individuals
Republican and Democratic Leadership in the Senate have agreed on a tentative $900 billion stimulus package on Sunday, lining up relief for the millions of Americans blighted by economic uncertainty as the coronavirus pandemic continues into the new year.
“Moments ago, in consultation with our committees, the four leaders of the Senate and the House finalized an agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on the Senate floor in the afternoon. “There will be another major rescue package for the American people.”
The primary points of contention during stimulus negotiations were direct relief checks to individuals and payments to state and local governments. Senators Josh Hawley and Bernie Sanders formed a bipartisan populist coalition in pushing for the inclusion of a second round of stimulus checks, with leadership settling on $600 checks after Senator Ron Johnson blocked a proposal for another round of $1200 TrumpBux checks, citing concerns about the national debt.
Eligibility for the $600 checks will use the same rules as the previous $1200 payment, with Americans who claimed less than $75,000 in income in their 2019 tax returns receiving the direct payments from the IRS.
Senator John Cornyn told CNN that he expects the Senate to finalize and vote upon the second stimulus package this relief. It is possible that the House of Representatives could create problems in the stimulus package’s enactment, adding progressive goodies that poison the bill’s prospects with the Republican Senate majority.
Joe Biden has described a second stimulus package as a “down payment,” signalling his desire for further stimulus packages in the coming months. Biden is all but certain to be inaugurated as President after securing a victory in the electoral college last week.