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Aug 08, 2020
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About this Deal

Congressional and White House negotiators have missed their Aug. 7 deadline to agree on another economic relief bill. Here's where the debate stands on enhanced unemployment benefits and more.

Washington lawmakers missed their Aug. 7 deadline to finalize the next stimulus package, which is expected to include a second stimulus check of up to $1,200 for those who meet the next set of eligibility requirements. On this much, the two sides of the aisle agree, but they're otherwise sharply divided along partisan lines about potential additional benefits beyond a direct payment.

"When you have an opportunity like this to do something for the American people, it's an opportunity. But we can't have it be a missed opportunity to do that by settling for something so low, so beneath meeting the needs of the American people," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday. Here's more on which scenarios could play out with the stimulus bill.

Finalizing a package means striking compromises on hot-button issues like extending eviction protections and enhanced weekly unemployment benefits, which expired July 31. First-time unemployment claims exceeded 1 million requests for the 20th straight week, which is up from 214,000 new jobless claims a year ago this week. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the US economy gained 1.8 million jobs last month.

Let's now take a dive into the various proposals for benefits beyond a second stimulus payment, and assess how likely they are to pass. This story is frequently updated.

Second stimulus check aims to accelerate spending
What it is: A payment sent to qualifying individuals and families, based on annual income, age, number of dependents and other factors. The first stimulus checks 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, some are still waiting for their stimulus payment.

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.

More unemployment benefits for people without jobs
What it is: An additional weekly check for 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 expired on July 31, 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.

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