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Don't expect a second stimulus check this year. Here's what Congress is talking about instead

Even with coronavirus spiking and new restrictions taking effect, Congress remains stalled on fresh relief for Americans in need.While there's support...

Posted: Nov 30, 2020 12:41 PM
Updated: Nov 30, 2020 1:30 PM

Even with coronavirus spiking and new restrictions taking effect, Congress remains stalled on fresh relief for Americans in need.

While there's support from both Republicans and Democrats for sending out another round of payments, it's unlikely Americans will get a second round of stimulus checks before the end of the year -- and lawmakers have been unable to come to any agreement on a broader economic aid package.

Congress returns to Washington this week focused on passing a broader spending bill by December 11 to avert a partial government shutdown, though it's possible that some relief programs could be added to such a broader spending bill.

If anything, those provisions may extend programs set to expire on December 31 -- including expanded unemployment benefits, an eviction moratorium and a pause on student loan payments.

Disagreements over new checks

There's been little talk from lawmakers of a second round of stimulus checks since the summer. The most recent stimulus package proposal put forth by Republicans, who currently control the Senate, didn't include money for direct payments.

President-elect Joe Biden supports a $3 trillion Democratic-backed bill that passed the House in May, which provided for a second round of checks. But that package has little chance of passing Congress unless Democrats gain control of the Senate by winning both runoff Senate races in Georgia set for January 5.

More than 160 million Americans received stimulus payments earlier in the year, after Congress approved a $2 trillion aid package in March. They helped keep many families out of poverty as millions of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

But for many, that $1,200 check has already been spent. Now, as coronavirus cases surge, a group of more than 120 economists are urging lawmakers to approve another round of checks, arguing that they are 'one of the quickest, most equitable, and most effective ways to get families and the economy back on track.'

Congress has already allowed some relief programs to expire, like the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and the $600 federal boost to weekly unemployment benefits.

But others end this month. If Congress adds any stimulus to the general spending bill, they may prioritize pushing back those deadlines.

Expanded unemployment benefits

As part of the historic broadening of jobless benefits under the CARES Act, lawmakers created three programs to help out-of-work Americans. While the $600 payment enhancement lasted only four months, the other two run through the week ending December 26, which is the last weekend of the year.

One of them, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, allows independent contractors, the self-employed and gig workers to qualify for payments. It also opens up the program to those who can't work because of the pandemic, including if they or family members are ill or quarantining or if their children's schools are closed.

The other program, called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, provides an additional 13 weeks of federally paid benefits to those who run out of state payments, which typically last 26 weeks.

Student loan payment pause

In March, the US government automatically suspended payments and waived interest on federal student loans. That meant millions of borrowers could skip making their monthly payments without their balances getting any bigger.

Initially, the relief -- which was included in the $2 trillion congressional stimulus package -- was set to expire at the end of September. But President Donald Trump later moved the date to December 31 by an executive action.

If neither Trump or Congress acts to push the deadline back, millions of student loan payments will come due a couple of weeks before Biden takes office on January 20. Even if Biden reinstates the pause retroactively, it could create confusion for borrowers as well as a mess for student loan processors, who aren't built to suddenly stop or start payment.

Eviction protection

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order that went into effect in September temporarily halted evictions through the end of the year. It applies to renters who meet certain income requirements, have experienced significant losses of income and have made their best efforts to find rental assistance and pay their rent.

Since the order does not cancel or freeze rent, all of a tenant's back rent will be due January 1 if the moratorium is allowed to expire. Without rent relief or an extension of the protection, many struggling renters will again face eviction.

An eviction moratorium established by Congress in March shielded only tenants who receive federal assistance or live in rental properties with federally backed financing. That protection lapsed over the summer.

Paid family leave

Earlier in the year, lawmakers expanded paid family leave benefits for many workers who become ill or are caring for someone else.

It was limited to employees of companies with fewer than 500 workers but provided up to two weeks of paid sick leave and an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family leave for parents who need to care for children whose schools closed.

However, the payments are capped, and small businesses can apply for waivers from the provisions affecting workers whose children's schools have shut down.

Those benefits also are set to expire on December 31.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 454989

Reported Deaths: 6163
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin943781502
Ramsey40624748
Dakota33540354
Anoka31357368
Washington20533237
Stearns18091190
St. Louis13970250
Scott1217799
Wright11791107
Olmsted1078075
Sherburne829669
Carver704439
Clay658884
Rice624274
Kandiyohi558072
Blue Earth548033
Crow Wing490478
Otter Tail464268
Chisago459538
Benton423688
Winona394548
Douglas379366
Nobles374647
Mower373729
Goodhue356863
Polk330760
McLeod328147
Beltrami315748
Morrison314545
Lyon305539
Becker288939
Itasca287343
Isanti285643
Carlton284043
Steele278910
Pine270315
Freeborn254123
Todd233730
Nicollet229438
Brown218034
Mille Lacs215645
Le Sueur214216
Cass210724
Meeker201333
Waseca193216
Wabasha17463
Martin171926
Roseau166417
Hubbard150738
Redwood141127
Houston140014
Dodge13934
Renville138440
Chippewa133032
Cottonwood129018
Fillmore12698
Wadena120818
Rock112012
Aitkin111433
Sibley10997
Faribault109416
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99618
Pipestone96823
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9117
Jackson87310
Swift84518
Pope7475
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin6339
Koochiching60610
Lincoln4912
Unassigned47369
Big Stone4693
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 311430

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46841465
Linn18065279
Scott15872172
Black Hawk14090243
Woodbury13129181
Johnson1230052
Dubuque11625159
Pottawattamie9166115
Dallas908972
Story881038
Cerro Gordo473572
Webster472477
Sioux459757
Warren459339
Clinton458168
Marshall431162
Buena Vista396330
Muscatine396178
Des Moines395143
Plymouth353270
Wapello350798
Jasper332859
Lee324632
Marion309353
Jones274950
Henry267131
Carroll258434
Bremer250148
Crawford234724
Boone222917
Washington222933
Benton213650
Mahaska197937
Jackson195032
Tama190259
Dickinson188829
Kossuth180644
Delaware176236
Clay172521
Wright167124
Fayette166024
Hamilton162330
Buchanan162224
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158562
Hardin157931
Cedar155619
Clayton153849
Butler151724
Page147115
Floyd141636
Cherokee140127
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek135224
Hancock131924
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123910
Calhoun12349
Grundy122628
Winnebago122229
Jefferson122125
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass115243
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112640
Sac112215
Union111623
Emmet111332
Humboldt106819
Shelby105527
Guthrie104424
Franklin103618
Unassigned10160
Palo Alto92411
Montgomery89124
Keokuk86326
Howard85919
Monroe82220
Clarke8129
Pocahontas78211
Ida76030
Davis70321
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona68518
Lucas66710
Osceola64711
Worth6194
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4974
Ringgold45111
Audubon4228
Wayne42021
Adams3003
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