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Stimulus update: Talks resume on second checks, extra unemployment. Should we hold our breath?

Steve Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi are reportedly back at the table. Are there reasons to be optimistic this time?

Stimulus update: Talks resume on second checks, extra unemployment. Should we hold our breath?
[Photo: Syed F Hashemi/Unsplash; Chris Briggs/Unsplash]
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On Tuesday, your hopes of receiving another stimulus check and more federal unemployment this year were seemingly dashed when President Trump ended negotiations on a congressional stimulus bill until after the election. But today is Friday! And negotiations are happening again. Here’s the latest update as we head into the weekend:

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What happened?

After stopping negotiations on Tuesday, President Trump faced a tanking stock market and anger from fellow Republicans, so he first suggested small, targeted aid bills (a concept Democrats have long rejected), and on Thursday reversed course, voicing support for a broad stimulus package. No one quite knows what he’s envisioning, but negotiators Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. treasury secretary, and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, are reportedly back at the table, according to CNN.

So will I get a check or more unemployment this year?

Maybe. If we were betting types—and we’re not—we’d say there’s at least a better chance than there was earlier in the week that you’ll see more money this year. Though, really, anything could happen.

What are the reasons to be optimistic?

Both Democrats and Republicans agree on another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, as well as a $400 weekly federal unemployment benefit. There is enthusiastic political will from all sides of the aisle to pass a new stimulus bill ASAP. (No, it’s not altruism. Both parties want to take credit for infusing the economy and voters’ pockets with cash as they walk into November’s elections.)

So why aren’t checks in the mail?

The shape of the bill is still hotly contended, with Democrats pushing a $2.2 trillion aid package with extensive state and local government funding, as well as school funding, and Republicans balking. Last month Republicans proposed a $500 billion bill. Reportedly, earlier in the week, back before Trump’s off-again-on-again chaos, the White House had proposed a $1.6 trillion option, and Democrats stood firm on at least $2 trillion.

What about the $300 extra unemployment that was already approved?

Excellent question! That depends where you live. New Jersey residents will start receiving their $300 federal unemployment benefit the week of October 19; Alaska hasn’t yet begun sending out payments; many states, including Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Idaho, Arizona, Alabama, Texas, and Utah finished sending out payments weeks ago. Nine thousand Coloradans were overpaid. Google News search “[your state] $300 unemployment benefit” to see what’s up, or check with your state’s local department.