Conflict Over Second Wave of Stimulus Bills

Finnian Waldron
Congress is clashing over differing stimulus bill proposals.
In the face of the highest unemployment rates since the Great Recession, the US Government issued a two trillion-dollar stimulus bill in March in an attempt to revive the COVID-19-stricken American economy. It was followed by another bill in April, and now Congress is debating over a second wave of stimulus checks.
Although previous stimulus bills have had unusually bi-partisan support, Democrats and Republicans disagree to a much greater extent regarding the most recent bill. Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer commented that, "The crisis and the pain of the American people in the pandemic get greater and greater, and Republicans keep thinking smaller and smaller."
Democrats believe 2.2 trillion dollars is necessary, but the Republicans’ opening bid was 1 trillion. The one trillion proposal would mean a supplement of three hundred dollars a week to twenty-eight million unemployed Americans, while the bill released in March provided six hundred a week. However, Mr. Schumer and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have declared that the proposed amount is inadequate and that Democrats will only resume negotiations when the administration agrees to spend at least two trillion on the relief bill.
As Congress continues to deliberate, lower-ranking lawmakers grow concerned at the lack of action. A letter was sent to Ms. Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland by several House lawmakers requesting that another vote occur on Saturday. The letter requested that the vote should be over the two trillion, dollar proposal, as opposed to the one trillion.
President Trump, for his part, has tried to expedite the stimulus by bypassing congress. He attempted to do this by using the federal disaster funds to create a separate three-hundred dollar a week unemployment fund. This maneuver has incurred some backlash from some state officials, but Trump’s new bill has already gone into effect in some states.

As of September 23, the House has passed the stimulus bill. In the Senate, however, it faces even more partisan disagreement, with the amount of funding still being determined. The Senate is pushing for the bill to be agreed upon by September 30 so that lawmakers up for reelection can focus on campaigning for the month of October. 
As the record unemployment rates begin to fall, perhaps a one trillion dollar supplement will be enough. However, Trump’s unemployment bill has so far failed to set the economy back on track to recovery. Whether or not the Senate will pass a sufficient supplement package remains to be seen.


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    Avani Lakkireddy
    Quinn Luce
    Vineeth Mothe
    Charlotte Park
    Amrit Siam
    Finnian Waldron