The Hill reports today, and for those of us who burned through that $1,200 of stimulus money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act just beginning to catch up from the personal economic devastation of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s bad news:
Senate Republicans are pouring cold water on including another round of stimulus checks in the next coronavirus relief bill.
The record $2.2 trillion pandemic bill signed into law March 27 mandated one-time payments of $1,200 for people making up to $75,000 a year, but most of the checks have already been distributed.
The White House and Democrats are signaling support for doing at least one more round of checks. GOP senators, however, say they aren’t sold yet on the need for a second round, and several said they are strongly opposed to the idea.
Democrats have proposed sending $2,000 checks to every household monthly until the economy is safely up and running again, and this story correctly points out that the original–maybe only now–round of stimulus checks to individual taxpayers in April was half of what Democrats originally wanted. But like Republican Sen. John Kennedy says, “people in hell want ice water too.” Sen. Lindsey Graham says getting your ass back to work is the best stimulus, and Sen. Ron Johnson says relax, “this isn’t your classic recession.”
Sen. Johnson is right, of course, but not in the way he thinks. According to the 14.7% unemployment rate announced today for the month of April, this is a much more severe economic crisis than anyone in the workforce today has ever experienced.
What happens next? It depends in large part on how “swing” Senators like Cory Gardner line up on the next stimulus bill. Gardner has been taking credit for the stimulus dollars flowing into Colorado so greedily he sent a release celebrating items just a few days before he had bashed as “despicable” examples of tripped Democrats holding up the works. Gardner has the choice of supporting another round of direct stimulus to individuals as loudly as he’s supported the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses, going along with his fellow Republican Senators in closing the wallet on the “takers,” or trailing the herd in silence until the last possible moment.
Without some timely and determined tag teaming, we already know which it will be.