We Have a Stimulus Deal — Government Shutdown Averted

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10713718e)US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi removes a face mask upon arriving at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 16 July 2020.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

On December 14, members of the U.S. Senate held a press conference and noted with pride that a bi-partisan deal had been reached, and a new stimulus package would be passed any day. On Thursday, it was clear that the deal was in trouble and a government shutdown could have occurred, negatively impacting government employees as soon as Monday. On Friday, it fell apart, and a stop-gap funding order was passed to ensure that the government could stay open for the weekend.

But the government pulled through late Sunday night – though to some on social media, it was too little, too late.

The Washington Post reports that the current plan calls for stimulus checks of $600 per person, adults and children in a household alike, to begin phasing out at $75,000 in 2019 income. It also calls for an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits. There is also an extension on the eviction moratorium. The total value of the package is estimated at $900 billion, and it does not include funding for state, local or tribal governments.

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See: Checks Are Back on the Table — How the Stimulus Plan Will Affect Your Wallet
Explore: How Big Will Your Stimulus Check Be?

Mid-week, the debate was over whether to add stimulus checks, and if so, how much should they be. By Friday, the wrench dropped into the works was a proposal by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to limit the Federal Reserve System’s emergency lending powers.

Early Sunday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that lawmakers had finalized their negotiation and that the bill would pass later in the night, avoiding a government shutdown on Monday morning.

See: Where Experts Think Congress Should Spend Stimulus Money
Explore: The Stimulus Check Secret You Need to Know Before You File Your 2020 Taxes

Congress has been working on a second stimulus for eight months, after it became apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic would last longer than the first stimulus. Nevertheless, the terms were contentious and led to two stop-gap funding bills – which sparked action by several cities and states to fund their own relief programs.

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About the Author

Ann Logue is a writer specializing in business and finance. Her most recent book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Options Trading (Alpha 2016). She lives in Chicago.

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