Breaking Down The $900b Stimulus Package And $14t Omnibus Bill
The legislation offers a wide range of help, both for individuals and for struggling elements of the economy, from mass transit to movie theaters.
12/21/2020 11:48 PM EST
Congressional leaders on Monday unveiled the text of a $900 billion fiscal stimulus package and a $1.4 trillion government funding deal that will deliver critical pandemic aid to millions of Americans and pad federal agency budgets through next September.
The colossal year-end package approved by the House and then the Senate on Monday night will provide another round of direct payments, enhanced unemployment benefits and billions of dollars for struggling industries in what still amounts to a less generous package than the $3 trillion response mounted at the beginning of the pandemic. Unemployment benefits expire in mid-March, likely setting up another deadline for additional congressional action early next year.
The bipartisan, bicameral year-end package also includes a dozen annual appropriations bills that, if passed, would ward off a government funding fight at the onset of the Biden administration.
Heres a breakdown of whats inside the massive year-end compromise:
Funds For Local Governments
Unlike prior stimulus packages, this one provides $350bn for local governments, many of which are facing higher expenses and lower revenues due to the economic downturn.
But Republicans have fought it as a handout to primarily Democratic states, noting research that shows that the budget situation in many states is better than expected. California even has a surprise surplus.
The Democratic plan would send at least $500m to every state, with additional funds determined by the number of jobless workers. Cities and countries, tribes and territories are also in line for money.
AZ: This has been one of the big political battlegrounds in every Covid-19 stimulus bill. Republicans have been able to successfully block aid to states and cities in the past, saying they were a handout to high-tax liberal enclaves. This time around, however, they don’t have the votes to stop it.
Republican support: 1/5
Wyoming Lawmakers Weigh Runoff Legislation That Could Hurt Liz Cheney
Wyoming Republicans this week are considering a change to state election law that may make it harder for one of their own Representative Liz Cheney to win re-election next year.
The Wyoming Senate is set to hold a committee vote on Thursday on legislation that would require runoff contests after a primary election if no candidate wins a majority a prospect that could doom Ms. Cheney by forcing her into a one-on-one contest with an opponent loyal to former President Donald J. Trump.
Ms. Cheney, who in January became the face of internal Republican opposition to Mr. Trump when she released a scathing statement announcing her vote to impeach him, has faced a significant backlash in her home state. Already, the Wyoming Republican Party has censured her, and there are multiple Republican candidates running against her, with Trump allies coming to the state to rally her opposition.
Donald Trump Jr., the former presidents eldest son, has since Monday posted two messages on Twitter in support of the legislation, saying lawmakers who oppose it are turning their back on my father and the entire America First movement. One of his tweets included contact information for state senators on the committee considering the proposal, which he claimed allies of Ms. Cheney were vying to thwart.
Wyoming Republicans said some state lawmakers opposed it because they preferred to campaign in the states warm summer months rather than in the spring, when the legislature is in session.
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Biden Admin Denies Program For Drug Addicts Includes Free Crack Pipes
EDITORS NOTE: The article has been updated to provide additional context and updated responses from the White House. A previous headline on this article stated pipes would be included in the program.
WASHINGTON The Biden Administration said Wednesday that crack pipes are not included in a safe smoking kit available to non-profits to reduce infections among drug addicts.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that it will supply smoking kits for users to smoke illicit substances such as crystal methamphetamine and crack cocaine.
To limit infections among drug users, the Biden administration created a $30 million grant program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for non-profits to buy equipment and supplies to enhance harm reduction efforts,examples of which list infectious disease testing kits, condoms, syringes and safe smoking kit/supplies.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn expressed grave concerns over the programin a letter Tuesday to SAMHSA Secretary Xavier Becerra, saying, Government-funded drug paraphernalia is a slap in the face to the communities and first responders fighting against drugs flowing into our country from a wide-open southern border. If this is the presidents plan to address drug abuse, our nation is in serious trouble.
Check : $300 In Additional Weekly Unemployment Benefits Including A New Tax Break
Under the new legislation, federal unemployment checks have been extended to Sept. 6 at a $300 weekly rate. The package also reduces the tax burden on the unemployment money for households earning less than $150,000 a year. The new law renewed the weekly $300 federal unemployment checks, which would’ve expired March 14, without a gap in funding.
The plan also removes a provision that you have to make $2,500 a year to receive the credit and makes the credits fully refundable. In addition, it expands tax credits for one year to help cover the cost of child care. Families could get back as a tax credit as much as half their spending on child care for children under age 13, up to $4,000 for a single child and $8,000 for two or more children.
The new law provides financial assistance to families with children.
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One Thing Missing: A Minimum Wage Hike
As part of the stimulus plan, Mr. Biden wanted to raise the federal minimum wage, which is now $7.25 per hour, to $15 per hour.
The stimulus bill passed by the House would increase the wage to $15 per hour by 2025, but the Senate parliamentarian said the provision violated the strict rules that Senate Democrats had to follow to pass the bill through a special process that shielded it from a filibuster and allowed for its approval with only Democratic support. A vote in the Senate on Friday to add the wage increase back to the bill failed.
The Senate bill also dropped funding for a rail project in Silicon Valley in Northern California and a bridge between upstate New York and Canada, two provisions that were included in the House bill and drew criticism from Republicans.
What Didn’t Make It: $15 Minimum Wage
President Joe Biden’s initial plan called for increasing the national minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, more than doubling the current rate and increasing wages for an estimated 27 million workers. But the controversial proposal lacked support among key moderate Democrats in the Senate.
Last month, the Senate parliamentarian ordered the wage rise be removed from the bill. She said it did not meet the guidelines necessary to be included under the budget process Democrats plan to use to advance the aid package.
AZ: In the end, it was the Senate parliamentarian who killed the minimum wage increase, ruling that it would take 60 votes to pass. At the moment, just isn’t that kind of support in the Senate for a $15 wage – or among Democrats to overrule the parliamentarian – but the door is still open to a compromise on a lower minimum outside of the Covid relief package.
Republican support: 1/5
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Its The Economy Stupid
James Carvilles old adage, Its the economy, stupid still fits today, and it will certainly lead the way on any future stimulus checks or hazard pay decisions.
Even a position like its dead on arrival can be changed. This is the current position of Senate Republicans, but the economy will drive further action or inaction by the Senate. Right now, the economy continues to struggle badly. More than 36 million new jobless claims have been filed in eight weeks, and we are in a recession that is arguably headed to a depression. The most recent unemployment rate was reported as 14.7%, but many experts acknowledge that unemployment is really around 25%. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin admitted on Fox News Sunday that real unemployment is much higher than 14.7% before agreeing that its probably really 25% and that things would get worse before getting better.
I recommend that rather than listen to the bluster and partisan tones of Democrats and Republicans in Congress just pay attention to the economy. Pay attention to unemployment. Pay attention to job losses and notice whether or not those jobs are expected to come back. Listen closely to what employers are saying. Hone in on corporate bankruptcies and assess the impact on hiring. These factors as well as others will give you more insight into what Congress might do than anything any members say.
Lawmakers Fighting To Provide Direct Payments To Americans
The omission of second stimulus checks for individuals has caused quite a stir, with a number of lawmakers vowing that they will not support a bill without direct payments to Americans.
Senator Bernie Sanders was among those who are unsatisfied with the new stimulus proposals. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to significantly improve this bill. But in its current form, I cannot support it, he said Friday. Sander affirmed that the omission of another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans was unacceptable.
Representative Rashida Tlaib is also against not providing a second round of stimulus checks to individuals. She tweeted:
Its critical that we have another stimulus check. Direct payments help families in desperate need & it stimulates our local economy.
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Do you think Americans will soon receive second stimulus checks? Let us know in the comments section below.
A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.
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Special Inspector General For Pandemic Recovery
The legislation also requires oversight by a separate Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery who will monitor loans and investments from a $500 billion corporate bailout fund established by the legislation. A provision in the legislation empowers the special inspector general to audit the use of the fund requires the Treasury Department and other executive-branch entities to provide information to the special inspector general and directs the special inspector general to report to Congress “without delay” if an agency unreasonably withholds requested information. The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee will coordinate the work of the SIGPR.
Amidst reports that Trump would nominate White House lawyer Brian Miller for this job, Montana Senator Jon Tester and Utah Senator Mitt Romney drafted a letter to the president requesting a different, independent Special Inspector General. Miller was confirmed by the Senate on June 2.
Has The Stimulus Bill Passed Love Wine Company To Hire Someone To Live At Winery Job Pays $10k A Month
Several amendments were successfully added to the stimulus bill during the vote-a-rama, a period of time when senators can vote to add amendments to a reconciliation bill, reports Roll Call. However, this doesnt mean the bill is having an easy time. The new bill also stops aide money that is provided to state and local governments from getting used to create a pension fund, to fund tax cuts, or to fund new costs beyond Here are the components of the Senate bill that are substantially different: 1. Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus check No. Robert Byrd prevents items that dont fit into one of those three budget categories from being included. This was something Biden had promised during his campaign and had been included in the House version. Democrats are delivering on our promise to take action to defeat this virus and provide the assistance the American people need until our economy can reopen safely and fully. Congressional Democrats are fast-tracking the relief bill using budget reconciliation. The Senate version of the stimulus bill substantially narrows payment eligibility.
The Senate could take a procedural vote on Wednesday that would open debate on the bill. On Thursday, the Senates lead legislative rule-keeper its parliamentarian said including a boost to the minimum wage rate in the bill would not meet the requirements. But it had to be dropped because of the legislative process the Senate used to pass the bill.
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For Chuck Schumer A Dream Job Comes With Tall Orders
The moment Chuck Schumer achieved his longtime dream of becoming Senate majority leader, he was in a secure room hiding from a violent pro-Trump mob that was rampaging through the Capitol.
As rioters prowled the halls hunting for top lawmakers Mr. Schumer, Democrat of New York, later heard that one had been looking for his desk, saying, Wheres the big Jew? he was being evacuated with other leaders to a safe room at an undisclosed location.
It was then that news outlets confirmed that Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, had won the final Georgia Senate race that would give the party the majority, handing Mr. Schumer the top job. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, turned to the man who had engineered his defeat and offered a brief concession and congratulations.
With that, Charles Ellis Schumer, 70, the Brooklyn-raised son of an exterminator and a homemaker, became the first New Yorker ever to lead the United States Senate.
Jan. 6 was the best of times, Mr. Schumer said in a recent interview in his office, where he cracked open a Diet Coke. And it was the worst of times.
His dream job has come with huge challenges and a practically nonexistent margin for error. Mr. Schumer rose to power on the strength of his skills as a party messenger and relentless campaign strategist, not his talent as a legislative tactician.
Asked what he would do about her, Mr. Schumer shrugged and said he talked to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez all the time.
Personnel Office Stays Independent
The legislation blocks the Trump administrations plan to merge most of the functions of the Office of Personnel Management into the General Services Administration, a proposal decried by unions representing federal workers.
Dan Diamond, Michael Stratford, Stephanie Beasley, Zachary Warmbrodt, Victoria Guida, Eric Wolff, Connor OBrien and Brian Faler contributed to this report.
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Does It Even Matter That The House Passed The Bill If The Senate Is Against It
Yes it matters, and this is why.
While a bill can only become law after both chambers of Congress pass it and the president then signs it, its important to remember that nothing happens without a first step. Yesterdays bill passage was that first step, and Speaker Pelosi communicated that The Heroes Act outlines the Houses priorities for a fourth-phase stimulus package. She indicated that it would be used to set the baseline for beginning negotiations with the Senate and the White House.
Stimulus Checks Won’t Be Taxed
As with the first- and second-round payments, you won’t have to pay tax on your third stimulus check. Stimulus checks will actually be advance payments of the recovery rebate tax credit for the 2021 tax year. As such, they aren’t included in taxable income.
You also won’t have to repay any stimulus payments when you file your 2021 tax return. That’s true even if your third stimulus check is greater than your 2021 credit. If your third stimulus check is less than your 2021 credit, you can claim the difference as a recovery rebate credit when you file your 2021 return next year.
For more information about the final stimulus check plan such as eligibility requirements, garnishment of payments, checks for dead people, and methods of payment see The Current Plan for a $1,400 Third Stimulus Check.
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There Is Currently Legislation In The House For Recurring Checks
Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Rashida Tlaib reintroduced legislation in the House that would provide a fourth direct payment of $2,000, and then $1,000 recurring direct payments to Americans until the pandemic ends. The BOOST Act has nearly ten co-sponsors, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasnt said anything on the subject however. If the legislation were to move forward it would need her blessing to get through the lower chamber. So in the meantime as Yeva Nersisyan, Associate Professor of Economics at Franklin & Marshall College told CBSI would say wait and see right now.
Now That There’s An Expected Deal Here’s What Happens Next In The Senate
From CNN’s Manu Raju
A source familiar tells CNN that a deal about the path forward on the Covid-19 stimulus bill is coming soon.
The process had been stalled for several hours today as moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin was urged by Republicans to support a less generous plan extending enhanced benefits for the unemployed.
Under a final agreement accepted by Manchin, Senate Democrats will now offer an amendment to extend the enhanced Unemployment Insurance program through Sept. 6 at $300 a week, according to a Democratic aide with knowledge of the negotiations.
So what come next? The Senate will have to gavel closed the minimum wage vote which has been open since 11:03 a.m. ET.
Once that is done, the Senate will move into vote-a-rama, meaning that senators can offer as many amendments as they want. This is a free-flowing process so we are uncertain which amendments will be first and come after.
But the deal Manchin struck will be part of an amendment likely offered by Sen. Tom Carper. Also, Republicans will have a competing amendment on jobless benefits offered by Sen. Rob Portman, who has been lobbying Manchin all day to get on board. It’s unclear if Manchin will support this.
Many more amendments to come, and unknown how late it will go.
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