Negotiations for a second stimulus package expected to begin Monday


WASHINGTON (WPRI) — Monday begins the last week unemployed Americans are scheduled to receive an extra $600 weekly payment from the federal government.

In March, Congress approved the weekly unemployment benefits as part of its $2 trillion relief package aimed at offsetting the economic impact of the pandemic, but it expires at the end of the month unless it gets renewed. The package included stimulus checks, with most Americans getting a minimum of $1,200 from the federal government.

According to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, negotiations for a second stimulus package are set to start Monday, as Congress returns from a two-week recess.

For weeks, a few different proposals for a second stimulus package have been discussed, and President Donald Trump has said he’s not opposed to the checks being even larger than those in the initial package.

However, it’s also possible should more checks go out, that not everyone who got one before will be eligible.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested checks targeting those who make less than $40,000 dollars a year, and the $600 weekly unemployment benefits could be changed.

Republicans have argued the payment is too generous, and have suggested either a return to work bonus, or lower unemployment payments to incentivize people to return to the workforce.

Two months after the House passed the HEROES Act, Democrats are still pressuring Republicans to take up the $3 trillion COVID relief package. 

House Speaker Pelosi says with cases spiking nationwide, Congress must fund more testing, support local and state governments, and infuse cash directly into Americans’ hands. 

As of last week, nationwide roughly 1.3 million jobless claims have been filed. Nearly 300,000 jobless claims have been filed in Rhode Island.

With no bill yet on the table, the House might delay or skip its next recess on August 7th in order to get something ready.

Even if lawmakers are able to agree on something before then, Americans may still have to wait until the end of at least August, if the timeline of the initial roll out of the CARES Act is followed.

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