No second check in new stimulus package proposal, but you still could benefit anyway


Several economic support programs will run out by year’s end without help from Congress.

James Martin/CNET

A bipartisan group of Senators is expected to unveil a new $908 billion stimulus proposal Tuesday, the Washington Post reports, breaking a months-long stalemate over the contents of a bill. If passed, the new economic relief package would renew a handful of federal assistance programs set to expire by the end of the year but pass over a second round of stimulus checks. Through this spring’s CARES Act, the IRS sent over $270 billion in financial aid to individuals and families with the first economic impact payments.

The new proposal, from a mix of Republican and Democratic Senators, would look to extend enhanced unemployment aid, small business payroll assistance and eviction protections as well as provide funding for state and local governments, transit agencies and health care support for coronavirus vaccine distribution.

The cost of the proposed relief package would split the difference between the $500 billion bill Republican Senators have been pushing this fall and the $2.2 trillion package House Democrats have thrown their support behind. The bipartisan bill would leave out a hoped-for second economic stimulus check to keep the overall cost of the bill down, according to the Post. After President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, his administration could seek a follow-up bill with a bigger price tag that could include a second payment of up to $1,200.

After being part of the debate for months, what does it mean that another stimulus check may not be part of a new bill? We look at the other benefits a new stimulus package could bring you, even without $1,200 per qualified adult. This story is regularly updated with new information.

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


The new, smaller bill would extend weekly federal unemployment checks into 2021

The CARES Act in March authorized an additional $600 per week in unemployment money for out-of-work individuals. When that program ran out in July, President Donald Trump signed an executive action that extended payments through the end of the year at $300 extra per week, until Dec. 31 or until the money for each state ran out.

The Senate bipartisan bill would provide $300 per week in additional federal unemployment benefits for four months.

With the total number of unemployed workers claiming benefits as high as 20 million, the government reported this month, a renewal of the federal unemployment assistance could directly help millions of people pay for rent, food and other essentials.

Small businesses could get help paying worker wages

The Payroll Protection Program, also part of the CARES Act, was designed to help keep workers employed by providing forgivable loans to small businesses to help cover wages. That means people who work for small businesses should be more likely to keep their jobs because their employer can get federal money to help keep workers on the books. 

The new proposal would add $300 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.

While recent studies suggest the payroll program was not as effective as it could have been — with many businesses using the loans on nonpayroll expenses and to build up savings, according to a University of Chicago study — both Republicans and Democrats have pushed for renewal of the program targeted at the hardest-hit small businesses.


Federal support for worker wages is set to run out as Democrats and Republicans continue to clash on stimulus.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Renter protections could return to put a stop to evictions

One in five renters are not caught up on their rent during the pandemic, a November US Census study found, making a lapse in protections potentially catastrophic to American households. Up to 19 million people could lose their homes if eviction protections aren’t renewed. More Americans could declare personal bankruptcy.

The CARES Act included a 120-day moratorium on evicting renters who were late on rent. Trump renewed the moratorium until Dec. 31.

According to the Washington Post, the new proposal guards against evictions through “rental assistance funding.”

Coverage for coronavirus health care expenses

The Washington Post reports the new proposal would provide $50 billion for vaccine distribution and to pay for coronavirus testing and contact tracing.

While we wait for Congress to consider the new bipartisan bill, here’s what we know about the state of negotiations on another economic rescue bill, what could be holding up an agreement and five benefits going away unless Congress acts before the end of the year.


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