Coronavirus stimulus checks: 127 economists urge Congress to provide more 'direct cash payments' to Americans
After the business cycle negotiations stalled and millions were on the verge of losing unemployment benefits, 127 economists urged Congress to send Americans a second round of business cycle reviews.
"We urge political decision-makers to use all the instruments available to them to revitalize the economy," says the letter signed by the economists to get the economy back on track. "
Under the CARES bill, around 160 million Americans received a stimulus payment of up to $ 1,200 - plus $ 500 per dependent child - with the bulk of the payments being distributed in April.
Another round would not only "help families meet basic needs" but also "boost the state and local economies and accelerate recovery," according to the letter from economists, including Jason Furman, who served as President Obama's chief economist.
U.S. President Donald Trump's name appears on Coronavirus Scans of Economic Aid sent to citizens across the country on April 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
The letter also asked lawmakers to combine a second round of payments with aid programs such as “unemployment benefits, aid to state and local governments, stronger SNAP benefits, solid childcare funding”.
If an agreement is not reached by the end of the year, up to 12 million Americans are expected to lose unemployment benefits when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs expire.
"Prevent the number of people living in poverty from rising"
Prior to the election, the two parties came up with the deal's price tag with spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) recent proposal of $ 2.2 trillion and the White House proposal of nearly $ 1.9 trillion Dollar close. But the Senate Republicans - who are likely to lead the talks now - are backing something much smaller.
The latest proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was valued at just $ 500 billion, opening a huge gap in funding between the two parties. This proposal does not include a second round of business cycle reviews, while the Democratic proposal includes another round similar to that of the CARES law.
Read More: Here's What You Need To Know About Eligibility for Unemployment Benefit
While there have been reports that President-elect Joe Biden might support a lower price to help reach an agreement in the Lame Duck meeting, a transition spokesman said it was wrong and the President-elect supported the Democrats' proposal .
"Right now, Congress should come together and pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed six months ago," Biden said at a press conference last week.
This means that the gap between the two parties who have not yet returned to the negotiating table remains large. Meanwhile, the economic recovery is slowing and millions of Americans are facing greater financial hardship.
In October alone, 1 million more Americans fell below the poverty line, a study by the University of Chicago found. A total of 7 million Americans have fallen into poverty as of May, with most black Americans falling into poverty.
"Stimulus checks were an essential tool to prevent the number of people living in poverty from rising even further," says the economists' letter. "While the expansion of unemployment benefits has been essential, the money is reaching millions of people who are facing economic problems, including those who are not entitled to unemployment benefits."
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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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