Stimulus package vote today: Latest on $600 second check, $300 unemployment insurance

December 21, 2020 0 By boss


Congress could be very close to a vote on a stimulus package that includes a second stimulus check.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The House of Representatives is set to vote on a $900 billion bipartisan stimulus package that that will jointly fund the government for a year and deliver a second stimulus check of $600 and $300 in weekly unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans. Originally slated for a vote on Sunday, the vote slid to Monday while lawmakers tackled last-minute legal language and passed a stopgap bill to fund the government long enough to pass COVID-19 relief along with a yearly federal spending act.

“Congress has just reached an agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Sunday afternoon. “We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way.”

The coronavirus relief package is set to renew critical expiring federal benefits at a time when the nation is seeing surging infectionshospitalizations and “horrific” deaths as a result of COVID-19. Without federal action, tens of millions of unemployed Americans would be left without any income and millions of households would face eviction

“This emergency relief bill is an important initial step,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “In 31 days, when Joe Biden enters the White House, more help will be on the way.”

The second stimulus check is intended to go to the same recipients of the first stimulus check this year, Sen. John Barrasso said on Fox News Sunday. Pelosi described the direct payments as “worth up to $600 per adult and child, also ensuring that mixed-status families receive payments;” in other words, families where one parent is not a US citizen

The qualifications in a second stimulus check appear not to expand the definition of who counts as a dependent, according to The Washington Post, a distinction that keeps the amount a second stimulus check would send to families more or less in line with the first check, though for a different overall total.

It isn’t clear if the Senate would vote on Monday immediately after the COVID-19 stimulus bill were to pass the House. Much could depend on the time of day voting would start and end.

Read moreWant a third stimulus bill? America’s next Congress could hold the key

When could a stimulus bill or package pass?

House votes Senate votes President signs
Dec. 21 Dec. 21 Dec. 22
Dec. 21 Dec. 22 Dec. 22 (Trump signs same day)
Dec. 21 Dec. 22 Dec. 23

A broader economic rescue bill, like the $2.2 trillion CARES Act from March, is more likely to return to the table in early 2021, top US leaders have implied. It’s too soon to tell if that sweeping package would seek a third stimulus check for $600 or $1,200.

“We’re not leaving here without a COVID package. It’s not gonna happen. We’re gonna stay here until we get a COVID package,” McConnell said Dec. 15. “No matter how long it takes, we’ll be here.”

Why isn’t a $1,200 second stimulus check part of the bill?

A second stimulus check has had wide bipartisan support ever since the CARES Act passed. Over the last several months, everyone from President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden to members of Congress, economists and everyday people have advocated for another direct payment.


A vote on the new stimulus package could come soon.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Last week, Trump called for “more money than they’re talking about” in stimulus checks, as large as $1,200 or $2,000 per person. Aides reportedly convinced him that making such demands would jeopardize a stimulus bill, The Washington Post reported.

Although many favor a $1,200 direct payment in theory, a second smaller stimulus check is seen as one way to keep costs below the $1 trillion cutoff that Republican lawmakers have in the past said they’d support. 

Stimulus checks aren’t cheap. The IRS said this summer that it had spent $270 billion sending out 160 million checks, and on Monday, Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican who has been involved in crafting the bipartisan stimulus proposal, forecast a cost of $300 billion if the checks were once again included for $1,200 per person. Republicans reportedly bridled at the cost.

A variety of factors could have contributed to a second stimulus check making its way into the final bill at all, from popular opinion and presidential preference to that complicated bipartisan rejiggering mentioned above that freed up $160 billion, enough for a smaller stimulus check than before. 

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


How quickly could stimulus package aid go out?

First, the stimulus bill would need to pass the House and Senate. If both chambers are working together on a deal now, there’s a good chance that would happen. Next, Trump would need to sign the rescue bill into law. After that, aid would likely begin to go out within a week or two, with certain groups possibly receiving financial help before the end of 2020.

If a bill does pass that includes a direct payment, here’s how quickly we think the IRS could send a second stimulus check.

Could there be yet another stimulus bill in 2021?

Biden, McConnell and others have repeatedly described this December legislation as emergency relief instead of a sweeping economic stimulus package, and have committed to another stimulus bill in 2021.

“It’s a down payment,” Biden said Dec. 16. “An important down payment on what’s going to have to be done at the end of January and into February. But it’s very important to get done.”

Here’s everything we know right now about the chances of a third stimulus check in 2021.

For more information about stimulus checks, here’s how soon you might get your second stimulus check now, what you should do to speed up the delivery of a potential second check, and what to know about the HEALS, CARES and Heroes stimulus bill proposals that could help inform a final package.

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