Will There Be A Second Stimulus Check?

Remember the second stimulus check?
It might never happen.

This is the one subject that has Americans glued to the news:

  • subreddit dedicated to discussions about stimulus checks has over 25,000 members.
  • And a Google search of “Second Stimulus Check” returns 190 million results.

The “skinny” deal’s total package of $650 billion was a noticeable mark down from the $1 trillion HEALS Act Republicans proposed in July and about a fifth of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act the House of Representatives passed on May 15.

Both the Heroes Act passed by House Democrats and the HEALS Act introduced by Senate Republicans include a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment (EIP). President Trump favours stimulus payments.

The IRS could send payments quickly. When and if another stimulus check happens, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to orchestrate the first payments. “I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” he said.

There were no second stimulus checks in August. There’s still chance they will go out in September (or what is left of it). Maybe a bill will be passed in September, with checks issued in October

One reasonable fact still remains: if a second stimulus package isn’t passed in September, with checks issued in October, our next best hope will be 2021.

Since the recent hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, what is the current talk about stimulus?

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Pandemic Eviction

U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Don Beyer (VA-08), Vice Chair and House leader of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, introduced the Worker Relief and Security Act. The legislation would automatically continue and provide for additional enhanced emergency unemployment benefits for the duration of the public health emergency and ensuing economic crisis until conditions return closer to pre-crisis levels.

30 million unemployed workers face a drastic cut in income. The gap in unemployment benefits will inflict anguish on millions of American families, many of whom will have extreme difficulty paying for food and housing, and do serious damage to the economy.

The Worker Relief and Security Act would:

  • A worker who exhausts their traditional unemployment compensation benefits (funded by the state) will be able to receive additional unemployment benefits fully financed by the federal government without limit until 26 weeks after the end of extreme social distancing.
  • A worker receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits for those who do not qualify for traditional UI will also not face limits on the number of weeks they can draw benefits until 26 weeks after the end of the Public Health Emergency.
  • Workers receiving the extra $600 in weekly benefits will continue to receive it until 30 days after the end of the President’s emergency declaration, after which it will begin to phase down over 13 weeks.

“Crushing levels of unemployment are likely to linger even as some businesses start to open, and workers who lose their jobs need unemployment benefits until the job market gets close to pre-crisis levels. Extending unemployment benefits will bolster the economy and protect millions of households from financial ruin and serious hardship,” said former Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew

“If we are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the economic dignity and security of our workers and families during this nearly unprecedented crisis, the single most important policy may be an extension of a robust unemployment benefit that is tied not to an arbitrary date, but to when our job market and public health response is strong enough to let tens of millions safely return to work. Ensuring that all workers who are jobless, or facing reduced hours due to the crisis, have a benefit that helps them pay their bills, stay in their homes, and support themselves and their families must be our first priority both in terms of our values and economic common sense” stated National Economic Advisor to President Obama and President Clinton, Gene Sperling

“Rather than pretending we know exactly what will happen in our economic future, the legislation smartly makes support and assistance contingent on what actually happens. This approach is long overdue” Jason Furman, Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said: “Expanded and extended unemployment insurance is the most important economic response to the crisis we are in today. It is critical that it continue as long as it is needed”

“With the economy in crisis, it is absolutely crucial that we build a better safety net for marginalized and low-income households. The Worker Relief and Security Act provides strongly-targeted support for the millions of families that have been impacted by COVID-19 and, most importantly, requires that support to continue until the economy recovers” Senior Advisor at Employ America Arnab Datta

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The Economy & The Election

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden laid out starkly divergent visions of how to dig the U.S. economy out of the deepest downturn since the Great Depression amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of the next president will be to get back to full employment as fast as possible

  • Trump promised more cuts to taxes and regulations, and he dangled the prospect of additional tariffs against China; “We will go right after China,” Trump said. “We will not rely on them one bit. We’re taking our business out of China. We are bringing it home. We want our business to come home.” He added, “We will continue to reduce taxes and regulations at levels not seen before.”
  • Biden Biden vowed to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations and use the money to spend trillions to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and shift to a clean-energy future, make housing and child care more affordable and improve education, among other proposals.
  • Trump In his nomination speech, he suggested he’ll propose cutting individual taxes but didn’t say which. Trump’s campaign has generally provided vague economic proposals that could be fleshed out later. The president, for example, vowed to create 10 million jobs in 10 months but didn’t specify how.
    Economist Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute says: “Trump will be better from a free-market perspective.”
    The Tax Foundation says it’s difficult to analyze the ideas without more details.
    Critics question the legality of a payroll tax cut that’s not approved by Congress.
    “Tax cuts provide a small economic bang for the buck, adding significantly to the nation’s debt load and providing little economic lift.“ said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics
  • Biden His administration would raise taxes and eliminate loopholes for individuals earning more than $400,000.
    Economist Nancy Vanden Houten of Oxford Economics says she supports the plan because it targets wealthy individuals who likely would save, rather than spend, their tax windfall, doing relatively little harm to the economy.
  • Trump is trusted more than Democratic nominee Joe Biden to handle the economy, polls show, even with more than 40 million Americans filing jobless claims and growth stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Biden, who has held online events from home during the shutdown, should be out in communities across the country demonstrating how to reopen businesses while following public health guidance. He needs to show what life is going to be like and how we are going to do it.
  • Trump has staked his political future on the economy, pushing a return to normal. An improving economy could play to Trump’s strengths, said Ian Sams, an adviser at Navigator, a polling organization.
  • A Biden adviser said re-opening should be dictated by public health concerns and that phased approaches being done by most states make sense. “From an economic standpoint, the worst-case scenario would be opening up and having to shut down again,” the adviser said.
    Economists see a recovery beginning in the third quarter, with job gains expected at more than 2 million, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia survey. But those forecasters still see a double-digit unemployment rate by the November election. “The unemployment rate will probably be falling relatively quickly later this year and next year, but it’s still going to be at a very high level,” the Biden adviser said.
    “It’s not that we don’t want to reopen the economy,” prominent Michigan Democrat, Vaughn Derderian, the chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party said. “We don’t know what it means to reopen the economy safely.”

A badly flagging economy of course works more to Biden’s political favor than Trump’s. But it’s also possible that the economy will simply matter less in this election than in past presidential contests.

The economy has gone into recession, unemployment is at 11.1%, and record numbers of new COVID-19 cases could substantially boost unemployment yet again. Come November, the economy could be a strong headwind for the incumbent president.

The election is determined on the margins, in other words. Plenty of people know how they’ll vote, regardless of their income or even whether they have a job on Election Day. But for those people in swing states without strong party affiliations, the economy could nudge their voting decisions one way or the other.

Bottom line,  the economy will play a determining factor in the election.

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Sen. Kamala Harris.

Harris, 55, is a former California attorney general known for pursuing predatory lenders after the financial crash of 2008 and her decision to hold out for a larger settlement from the big banks for Californians after the foreclosure crisis.

The California senator is the first Black and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket.

Harris was praised for her pointed questioning of Attorney General Bill Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during their respective confirmation hearings, highlighting her record as a prosecutor.

She is now the third woman to serve as a vice-presidential candidate for a major political party, following Geraldine Ferraro as the Democratic vice-presidential pick in 1984 and Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008.

She was one of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates.

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Not Caving

Democrats slammed the GOP’s $500 billion stimulus plan on Wednesday, calling it “emaciated” since it would leave out aid to states and rental assistance.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on CNN that Democrats are not caving to Republicans

“There’s a good chance they feel the pressure once they see the Democrats are not going to fold to this emaciated bill, which leaves so much out,” he said. “The pressure will mount on them.” “The crisis and the pain of the American people in the pandemic get greater and greater, and Republicans keep thinking smaller and smaller,” Schumer said. “And the reason is very simple — there are 20 Republicans in the Senate who want no money, so McConnell had to, in a very cynical exercise, put together something that would check the box, but left out so much.

Democrats have long championed their $3.4 trillion economic relief package that the House passed in May. It included aid to states, a second round of direct payments, and $100 billion in rental assistance among other priorities.

After negotiations fell through, the White House moved ahead in early August with a series of executive orders to boost unemployment benefits and enact a controversial payroll tax holiday. It also recently enacted an eviction moratorium through the end of the year.

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Not Yet Introduced

Senate Republicans are pushing to vote next week on a revised coronavirus relief bill.

A pared-down coronavirus relief package has not been introduced yet by the Senate, but Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) says it’s coming next week.

“We have a focused, targeted solution that we hope that the House would pass and the House would agree to,” Barrasso told PBS NewsHour early Tuesday morning. The bill will reportedly include aid for schools and unemployed workers.

The bill can’t be voted on until the Senate Republican conference approves the vote. Barrasso said the conference will have a call with the White House Tuesday morning to discuss details of the bill and potential vote.

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Trump Is Making Sure You Don’t Get A Stimulus Check

The President could not provide a stimulus check because it would have been unconstitutional. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Of California told CNN: “Well, the fact is, is that whether they’re legal or not takes time to figure out,” “I associate my remarks with what the Senator [Ben] Sasse, who says, they’re ‘unconstitutional slop.’ Right now, we want to address the needs of the American people. As my constitutional advisers tell me, they’re absurdly unconstitutional.”

But Republicans praised the president’s actions.

“I am glad that President Trump is proving that while Democrats use laid-off workers as political pawns, Republicans will actually look out for them,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Wall Street Journal reported

As pointed out by U.S Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland of the president actions: “The president is literally trying to steal away the powers that Congress has over spending and taxing.”

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) reminded Republicans about Herbert Hoover: “I would ask them to go back into the history books and look up and word: H-O-O-V-E-R, [who] after the crash said, don’t spend any money, and we had the Great Depression.”

The 10.2 percent unemployment rate “remains higher than at any point during the Great Financial Crisis and private sector economists believe it is likely to not be much lower on election day

Republicans are so attached to the donor class that they only care about donors and fear doing things that might not benefit them directly.

Trump Didn’t Lie About Lying

HuffPost senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked the president during Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing if, after 3½ years, “do you regret at all all the lying you’ve done to the American people? All the dishonesties?”

Trump paused and then moved on to the next question.

According to a running fact-check database by The Washington Post, Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims since taking office. Last month, as the tracker passed the shocking milestone, the project’s editor, Glenn Kessler, and fact-check reporters Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly wrote, “The notion that Trump would exceed 20,000 claims before he finished his term appeared ludicrous when The Fact Checker started this project during the president’s first 100 days in office.”

According to the database, he reached nearly a thousand false claims about coronavirus alone in just a matter of months.

What Trump Says

Monday afternoon President Trump gave one of his semi-regular updates on the fight against corona-virus.

Trump predicts: “…in 90 days or less, your numbers will be very good, I think, much better on the corona virus or the China virus.” When questioned about a possible development of a vaccine: “I think we’ll have a vaccine before the end of the year, very substantially and we may have a therapeutic resolvement very quickly, very, very quickly and frankly that’s the one I’d rather have faster, because you in, you give a transfusion or a shot to people that are very ill and they’d be able to come out of the hospital, the next day or a few days later”

He later added: “It should have never been allowed to happen. It should have never been allowed to escape China” China was not at all transparent in the scope and seriousness of Covid-19. The virus is highly contagious and it’s not at all clear that even if China had been transparent, the virus would have stayed only in that country.”We must stop politicizing the virus and instead be united in our condemnation of how this virus came to America, how this virus came to the world”

When it came to the subject if schools should reopen for in-person instruction in the fall “I think, for the most part, they don’t get very sick,” Trump said of children. “… It’s also a case where there’s a tiny fraction of death, tiny fraction, and they get better very quickly.”
Despite a study that found nearly 100,000 children were infected with the corona-virus in the final two weeks of July, President Trump on Monday reiterated the false claim that children are essentially immune to the virus, and that schools should reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.

Later on, in a pair of lengthy radio interviews Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump let loose. Many of the president’s remarks centered on the return of sports amid the pandemic. Although athletes and schools have expressed escalating corona-virus-related health concerns, Trump told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt later Tuesday morning that “they should play football.” But in that half-hour interview, he stressed players should also “stand for our flag and respect our flag.”