It is now almost certain that the next stimulus package will not include stimulus checks. This, however, does not mean that no one will get a second stimulus check. We have already seen many state governments announcing a separate package, including checks. Now, Washington, DC has announced $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks for some residents.
On Monday, Muriel Bowser announced that her government would use part of their CARES Act funding to provide certain residents with a one-time $1,200 stimulus payment. The payment would go to the people who are already receiving PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance).
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"We know many people are struggling and will struggle to get to the end of the year," Bowser said in a news conference, "and on the other side when hopefully there is relief from the Congress of the United States."
Those who filed and were eligible for PUA as of Nov. 30, would be eligible for this one-time stimulus check. Bowser estimates that about 20,000 people would qualify for the direct payment. Those who qualify would automatically receive the checks before the end of the year.
The PUA program is for those who wouldn’t normally be eligible for unemployment insurance at the state level. Such people mainly include independent contractors, self-employed, gig workers and people with a limited work history. The PUA program is set to expire on Dec. 31.
Along with the stimulus checks, Bowser also reminded people about the Restaurant Bridge Fund. The program, which is now open for application, offers up to $50,000 for food services establishments that are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
No decision on federal aid yet
Even though Bowser announced one-time $1,200 stimulus checks, she admitted that it would not be enough. Bowser urged the federal government to pass the relief package to address the needs of Americans.
“We urge our federal partners to pass legislation that recognizes the needs of millions of Americans who have made tremendous sacrifices and who are struggling to get by through no fault of their own,” she said.
Lawmakers have been negotiating a relief package for the past four months, but with no success so far. A bipartisan group of representatives, last week, came up with a $908 billion compromise bill. This bill includes funding for almost all necessary areas, but doesn’t offer stimulus checks.
This proposal has the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially rejected it. Now, there are reports that McConnell is open to passing it.
Over the weekend, Senator Dick Durbin told AP that excluding checks from the package could push Republicans to reach an agreement.
"The Democrats have always wanted a larger number, but we were told we couldn't get anything through the Republicans, except this $900 billion level," he said.