Washington lawmakers aim to reach a decision onby Aug. 7, but have so far remained far apart on issues such as and in how much should be in the once they are reinstated.
“We have to have an agreement and we will have an agreement,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the PBS NewsHour of meeting the deadline.
“We’re going to try to reach an overall agreement, if we can get one, by the end of this week — so that legislation could then pass next week,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday.
While there is agreement from both sides of the aisle that those who meet theshould receive a for , key decision-makers are sharply divided along partisan lines when it comes to other relief efforts to recover an .
What we do know is that the final bill could unlock a range of financial aid through the end of 2020, beyond just a single check. Here are the proposed benefits that are still on the table, including an employee retention tax break, payroll protection and the extra weekly unemployment boost. We update this story frequently to reflect the latest developments.
Second stimulus check: Made to increase spending
What it is: Aand families, based on annual income, age, number of dependents and other factors. The authorized under the CARES Act have gone out to over 160 million Americans — as a check, as a prepaid credit card or through direct deposit. But there are problems and after three months, .
How it could help you: The payment isn’t taxable and you can use it however you want — to pay for food, housing, clothing and so on. The idea is that spending the checks will help the economy recover faster.
Why we think a second check will pass: The CARES Act authorized payments of up to $1,200 per eligible adult and so does the HEALS Act. The House of Representatives’ Heroes Act, meanwhile, called for $1,200 stimulus checks, but for more people. The White House supports another round of checks, which makes this a likely part of the final bill.
Additional unemployment benefits for people without jobs
What it is: Anfor people who applied for unemployment for the first time or were already collecting unemployment. The program initially granted by the CARES Act provided an extra $600 per week and officially , but lawmakers are looking into another unemployment boost now.
How it could help you: An extra weekly payment on top of the ordinary unemployment benefit gives individuals and families a leg up. Cutting it off or reducing it could be devastating for unemployed workers and the economy.
Why we think it could happen: Republicans support the extension, but at a reduced rate. Democrats support an extension of the current $600 rate and have balked at the Senate proposal, which would extend benefits based on 70% to 75% of lost wages, starting at $200 a week and over time increasing to $500 a week, with state assistance. The benefits expired without a short-term extension in place.
After a political stalemate during negotiations, the GOP negotiators have reportedly signaled a willingness to consider the $600 weekly allowance, The New York Times reported on Aug. 4.
Payroll Protection Program to support businesses in keeping their employees
What it is: Intended to help you retain your job, the Paycheck Protection Program provides forgivable loans to small businesses as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll.
How it could help you: The program is designed to fund employed workers who would otherwise have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The program got off to a rocky start, and it’s not clear the PPP met the goals Congress set for it.
“Overall PPP hasn’t preserved many paychecks,” wrote Joshua Gotbaum in July, a guest scholar of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “A careful study found that PPP-eligible small businesses laid people off just as quickly as other businesses,” he said.
Why we think it could get extended: The Republican proposal will target the hardest-hit small businesses, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said during the rollout of the bill, including those with revenue losses of 50% or more over last year.
Employee retention tax credit could help pay workers
What it is: Under the program, an employer can receive refundable tax credits for wages paid to an employee during the pandemic. The employer can then use the credits to subtract from — and even receive a refund over — taxes they owe.
How it could help you: Again, it’s not a direct payment to you, but the program encourages businesses to keep workers on the payroll.
Why we think it could happen: The HEALS Act includes further tax relief for businesses that hire and rehire workers and the Democrat-backed Heroes Act also builds on the tax credits that were part of the initial CARES Act. And there’s additional bipartisan support besides.
Return-to-work payment of as much as $450 per week
What it is: A temporary weekly bonus for unemployed workers who secure a new job or are rehired, on top of their wages. As proposed by Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, the bonus would be $450 a week.
How it could help you: Under Portman’s plan, the weekly bonus would go to laid-off workers who return to work.
Why we think it may not happen: The White House in May expressed interest in the bonus and Portman continues to support the idea, but it’s not part of the proposal Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the other Senate Republicans presented last week.
Rental assistance to help halt evictions
What it is: This plan would help renters pay rent and assist landlords with expenses with less rent money coming in, especially as the US faces a potential “.”
How it could help you: The rental assistance program would temporarily help you pay rent if you qualify, put a hold on evictions for a year and help cover costs of rental property owners because of rental payment shortfalls..
Why we think it could happen: House Democrats included an eviction moratorium in its proposed Heroes Act. It wasn’t part of the Senate proposal, but President Donald Trump on July 29 said eviction protections would be part of the package. As with unemployment insurance, Congress is looking to extend this separately while it works on the final bill.
Payroll tax cut to give you more money in the bank this year
What it is: Trump has for months pushed the idea of including temporary payroll tax cuts in the next stimulus package. The proposal could include cutting both the employer and employee share of payroll taxes.
How it could help you: If you have a job, a payroll tax cut would let you keep more of your earnings each check. The plan would not help those who are unemployed and don’t receive a paycheck. The 30 million people who were claiming unemployment insurance as of July 11 would not benefit. “Workers would still be on the hook to pay those taxes next year,” the New York Times reported.
Why we don’t think it’ll happen: Neither the Heroes Act nor the current Senate plan includes a payroll tax cut. The White House continues to push for the idea.
Until we know for sure what the finalized stimulus bill will bring, there are some resources to help you through the financial crisis, includingand ; ; and ; how to ; and .
Julie Snyder contributed to this story.