Congress let three key coronavirus relief programs enhanced unemployment benefits, eviction protection and a small business loan program, expire during the past two weeks.
The economy is showing few signs of recovering from the pandemic, as thirty million people are collecting unemployment, consumer spending is down 8% from January and the number of open small businesses has fallen 18%. The unemployment rate remains higher than at any time during the Great Recession.
President Donald Trump signed executive actions in an attempt to go around Congress, but stimulus payments are beyond what he can unilaterally approve.
Administration officials previously said they would back a second round of stimulus payments, but it's not clear what a second round of payments would look like. The Republican-backed proposal would keep payments up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families and would scale down for higher-income Americans.
The Democrats are proposing to send out bigger checks calling for $1,200 per family member, and maxes out at $6,000 per household.
It could take weeks for the money to go out again after Congress authorizes the program. Some economists say a targeted approach would be more effective, making sure the aid gets to those who need it the most. Altogether, Congress has already authorized spending more than $3 trillion on the economic recovery.
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