WASHINGTON — The House and Senate late Monday voted to approve a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package that includes direct payments to most Americans and more funding for state and local governments.
The bitter slog of negotiations ended after lawmakers finally released the text of legislation that will inject much-needed help into the U.S. economy, which has been bruised and battered by the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year.
Those relying on unemployment benefits since the novel coronavirus outbreak shuttered businesses across the country will see a $300 boost under the new relief bill, though that’s half of what was included in the CARES Act passed in March. The supplemental $600 in jobless benefits expired in the summer.
The new stimulus package also includes $600 direct payments to American adults earning up to $75,000 a year, or $1,200 for married couples making up to $150,000. That’s also half of what was included in the larger stimulus package this spring. For those who received the first round of checks, that stimulus has only amounted to just over $4 per day since late March.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi lamented Monday morning that the direct payments for individuals and families will not be as high as the first ones. Democrats had pushed for another round of $1,200 stimulus checks in the $2.2 trillion Heroes Act, which was never passed by the Senate.
“I would have liked them to have been bigger but they are significant and they will be going out soon,” Pelosi said from the House floor.
The first round of checks had President Trump’s signature on them. Pelosi stressed Monday ahead of the rollout of the new stimulus package that the forthcoming checks are not a Donald Trump production, but a taxpayer one.
“The president may insist on having his name on the check but make no mistake: Those checks are from the American people. The American people’s names should be on that check, no individual. Those are the sources of those resources for those checks,” she said.
— By Jack Rodgers and Brandi Buchman, CNS