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Second stimulus checks and unemployment: Here are the latest details as we wait for a package

We finally know more details about the next stimulus package for coronavirus relief. The package is expected to include direct payments to Americans.

Second stimulus checks and unemployment: Here are the latest details as we wait for a package
[Photo: Sahand Hoseini/Unsplash]
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Finally, the next stimulus package bill for people affected by COVID-19 is upon us. Sorta. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was supposed to release the lonnnnng-awaited legislation that will serve as a starting point in negotiations with Democrats. He didn’t. The release has now been bumped back to next week. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been talking to the press about what you’ll likely get.

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  • Stimulus checks: A direct payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent is the most likely scenario at this point, but that could change. This time it would include previously excluded dependents such as college-age students.
  • Unemployment insurance: No more extra $600 per week. A new unemployment benefit will likely provide approximately 70% of wage replacement. (Though, given the many reported delays and problems in some states, expect issues.)
  • Paycheck Protection Program: A limited second round, for companies with under 300 employees and revenues that are down at least 50%.

What’s next?

The package is contentious, both among congressional Republicans and between them and the White House, and all parties need to come to agreement for the bill to pass both the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate. You can expect aid amounts to either increase or eligibility for that aid to expand, because Democrats are pushing for significantly more aid directly to Americans.

What else is in the package?

So many things! The approximately $1 trillion package includes $16 billion in funding for COVID-19 testing, tax credits that encourage companies to hire workers, and $105 billion to help schools reopen (which is currently wrapped in controversial requirements that schools open their doors to receive some funding).

It also loosens restrictions on how local and state governments can spend previously allocated federal relief, but does not increase that relief—which Democrats will certainly counter. Their $3 trillion HEROES Act, which passed the House in May, included nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments.

Cut to the chase: When will I get money?

The good news: The apparatus to send out stimulus checks is already in place, and can move in a matter of weeks. But this package has been delayed repeatedly, and though both sides are committed to passing a stimulus package that includes direct payments, three-way negotiations between Democrats, Republicans, and the White House are complex. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday that the bill will pass in August at the earliest.