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As pandemic relief talks continue, the fate of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits remain uncertain

The U.S. Capitol dome is mirrored on an ambulance at sunset in Washington, November 10, 2020.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Talks of a new coronavirus stimulus bill are happening on Capitol Hill.

As lawmakers overhaul their efforts to come to a compromise — including two new bipartisan and GOP packages — some question whether it will be enough to get more fiscal relief to Americans before some key protections expire at the end of this month.

One group of bipartisan lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a $908 billion container that would include an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., rejected the programme later that day, and instead put forth a different plan.

Washington’s political leaders currently face a Dec. 11 deadline to give leave more funding to keep the government running.

Meanwhile, other unemployment provisions are set to expire this month, which could except 12 million Americans without jobless benefits. Protections for renters and student loan borrowers are also set to run out.

The transactions between Republicans and Democrats over what should be included in the stimulus bill and how much the government should invest have been big points of contention.

Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, said he is “slightly numerous optimistic” that a compromise can happen now, though it’s not guaranteed.

The looming fiscal cliff and urging from the Federal At ones fingertips to take action could prompt Congress to act. Meanwhile, ADP’s latest monthly payrolls report shows that rental slowed in November to the lowest rate since the summer.

“All traditional signs would point to a deal coming together,” Common-or-garden variety said. “But there has been nothing traditional about this process.”

More $1,200 stimulus checks?

JGI/Tom Grill

Both the bipartisan and GOP propositions introduced this week left out one key way of getting more money into Americans’ hands — second $1,200 stimulus discontinuations.

Other support, including small business funding, unemployment, health care and schools, have taken a precedency for the next package, Mills said. While more stimulus checks used to be high on the list, they make been replaced by state and local funding.

As lawmakers look to keep the total cost to below $1 trillion, those $300 billion stimulus pauses can end up on the cutting room floor.

“Right now, those checks are on the bubble,” Mills said. “Last thing in, first business out.”

If those checks are not authorized by Congress now, they could still happen later after President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The probability of that will depend on the signals the economy sends, Mills said.

“It’s still possible,” Mills said. “But I assume there is still a recognition in D.C. that the longer it goes and the more positive news we have on the vaccine and other profitable indicators, the less likely it becomes.”

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