House Democrats who had hoped to provide Americans with a second $1,200 stimulus check are facing opposition from members of their own party in the Senate, The Hill reported.
Two weeks ago, the House narrowly adopted a $3 trillion measure that would provide a second wave of cash payments to Americans, extend federal unemployment benefits, add hazard pay for front-line workers and target subsidies to state and local governments.
But not only have Republican senators lined up to oppose the plan, Senate Democrats say they are concerned about what they see as a massive untargeted expense, The Hill reported.
“I’d like to take a look at all that aid we provided and get good economic information on the value for that, from the point of view of our economy but more importantly on fairness to people who are really hurt,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told The Hill.
Cardin said rather than issue a second set of checks to all taxpayers, the government should focus on the households that have been hardest hit by COVID-19’s economic impact.
When Congress approved the initial CARES Act in March, Cardin said the $1,200 and $2,400 payments made sense because the goal was to quickly get the money into the hands of taxpayers. But as states reopen nationwide, he said lawmakers should examine who will need relief in the coming months, he told The Hill.
“We wanted to get money out quickly, we used the refund checks to do that, we used the PPP,” Cardin said, referring to the Small Business Administration (SBA’s) popular Paycheck Protection Program. “I think [with] the next round, we’ve got to be more targeted to those who are really in need. So I hope we can target this a little bit better to those who have been hit hard because of COVID-19.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a member of the Finance Committee, agreed there has been “a little bit of debate” over whether another round of checks should be included in the next relief bill, The Hill wrote.
While Senate Republicans dismissed the House bill, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky now says Congress will probably pass another relief bill, but at a much smaller amount than the $3 trillion approved by the House.
As the Senate determines what the next bailout bill should look like, lawmakers in both parties are ranking their priorities. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) of the Finance Committee said she was not a fan of the checks.
“One-time payments are not what people need, she told The Hill. “What people need is a paycheck. They need ongoing income until this is done. That’s what they need.”