WASHINGTON, DC- Congress is working this weekend. Lawmakers seek to hammer out the provisions of just exactly what will be included in the stimulus package that will be launching soon.
Look forward to working with Republican and Democratic colleagues to get Phase III income support bill passed this weekend.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 20, 2020
The package is aimed at assisting people who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses that have lost money, and certain sectors of industry, such as aviation. But they also say that it is intended to help as many Americans as possible.
All indications are that relief checks will be issued to all tax paying adults.
But if that’s true, it leaves out a critical group of people.
What will happen for retired emergency responders and military veterans that draw a tax-free pension, and do not file taxes?
They may not have lost their pension payments, but that was already limited income. Will they be left out of the loop when it comes to helping Americans ensure that they can continue paying bills?
Let’s hope not.
[Editor’s note: So far, all indications are that those who do not file tax returns will not receive a stimulus check, period. There are no answers as to whether Congress will take these Americans into consideration. I would ask that you please join me and write to your Congress members to bring attention to this important matter.
Our medically retired officers and veterans deserve to receive whatever this great country has to offer them. They have given various forms of their lives up for their communities and their country and have dedicated their hearts and souls to the same. I don’t want to see them overlooked.]
And what about this stimulus bill?
Before anyone cries “no help for big business,” remember: An American who gets laid off from big business is no different from one who gets laid off from a small business.
The first priority of the stimulus package must be immediate cash to businesses to keep people on payroll.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) March 21, 2020
While the complete stimulus package was initially believed to be in the $1 trillion range, Larry Kudlow , director of the National Economic Council, said that number could double. Negotiators are looking at a price tag of $1.3 trillion.
When asked about the amount, Kudlow said:
“More or less. We’re not quite through negotiating yet.”
Kudlow and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland, who are on Capitol Hill as part of the negotiations happening with senators, said when the price tag for the bill is combined with money the Federal Reserve will spend to support the loans and other programs included in the legislation, it will have the total “impact” of more than $2 trillion.
The final numbers of what the package will include have still not been released. But it has been rumored to be around $1000 per adult. As part of the Republican plan offered this week, a direct cash payment would go to taxpayers based on 2018 tax returns. Individuals will receive up to $1,200, with the amount scaling down for individuals earning $75,000 or more. Those earning more than $99,000 would be ineligible.
Married couples will get up to $2,400 and an additional $500 for every child. Payments decline after $150,000 of income, with the cap placed at $200,000.
The plan would also provide $300 billion for loan guarantees for small businesses, $50 billion in loan guarantees for passenger airlines and $8 billion for air cargo shippers.
It would also provide $150 billion for other businesses in areas or sectors hurt by the work stoppages, which is pretty much everyone and everywhere now.
Other items would include a 60 day suspension of payroll tax.
But Democrats in the Senate kicked back against that proposal.
According to to Breitbart, the bill has to be negotiated with Democrats, who want to attach conditions on the aid to businesses. Some Republicans may also try to change the income caps, pointing out that these are based on 2018’s reported income, which would not necessarily reflect the negative impact of the China-bred pandemic.
See, even when Americans need help the most, it’s partisan politics as usual in Washington, even as the typical Trump bashers are readily praising the effort of his administration to combat what we are currently embattled with.
Politics aside, this is incredible and the right response in this critical time. 👏🏽 https://t.co/MUzGkAxNaO
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 19, 2020
[Editor’s note: Apologies to our readers if the above Twitter post from Ilhan Omar actually saying something positive towards President Trump caused you to choke on your cereal like it did to me.]
Tim Carney argued in an article earlier this week:
“Congress should pass a reparations package.
Think about it. Governments are forcing businesses to shut down and telling customers and employees to stay away from the ones that are open.
Governments are cutting off trade and tourism. The U.S. government and state and local governments are directly harming businesses in pursuit of a higher good.
So, Washington ought to be talking about making it up to the businesses.”
Breitbart’s Matt Boyle said that if this cash distribution bill is properly handled, it could result in an epic political realignment along the lines of what Franklin D. Roosevelt accomplished with the New Deal.
And while that might be a good thing for our nation, politics should not be the center point of this story.
It must be bipartisan. Even Chuck Schumer says so.
Well, right up until he stops saying so.
In a speech on the Senate floor Saturday morning, he called for bipartisan efforts, then rolled into a concerted effort to layout how the Democrats are the ones fighting for the American workers, and the Republicans are moving with them begrudgingly.
In essence, Schumer is asking that everyone who has been impacted by the work stoppage be given their salaries at taxpayer expense and “unemployment on steroids.”
“Workers that have been laid off should receive a paycheck equal to what they were receiving while they were employed,” he said. “Workers must be protected. This should not be a one-shot deal, but should be paid every work period. And it should go on as long as this crisis lasts. We want to fund it for at last 4 months. Maybe 6.”
Schumer also asked that student loan payments be suspended, both principal and interests.
He continued, throughout the 11-minute video, to highlight the emphasis that is part of the Democratic plan.
Apparently, Nancy Pelosi isn’t too keen on crossing the aisle either.
.@SenSchumer & I are beginning to review Senator McConnell’s proposal and on first reading, it is not at all pro-worker and instead puts corporations way ahead of workers.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 20, 2020
She then tweeted the link to the joint statement that she made with Schumer.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 19, 2020
That statement is all about their vision.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also took to the Senate floor Saturday morning.
He laid out the urgency of meeting in the middle to meet the needs of the American people by issuing four objectives:
“First, put emergency cash in the hands of individuals and families as quickly as possible. Second, deliver the major relief that American small businesses need at this unprecedented time, and deliver it fast.
“Three, bring stability to our economy and help prevent as many layoffs as possible. And four, continue to rush resources to the front line healthcare workers and providers who are actually treating patients.
And perhaps, most important of all, we look specifically for policies that can do all of the above as quickly as humanly possible.”
And perhaps the most striking thing that McConnell had to say was his statement regarding bipartisanship:
“Senate Republicans put out our starting proposal as fast as we could. Then, I created a structure of bipartisan discussions beginning as fast as they could. No legislation will move through the Senate that doesn’t contain ideas from both parties. That’s the way this body is designed.
So, these bipartisan talks have been essential from their ongoing, but what we need to do now is move forward.”
But apparently, there are those standing in the way of that taking place.
People are hurting. They are losing money. Many of them do not see how they are going to get through the rest of this month, much less the next one. and the one after that.
There is a cop in Texas who makes $55,000 a year. His wife is also a cop, making almost the same amount. $110,000 a year is not a bad living in Texas. Except…they have three small children. Schools are closed. One of them has to stay home with their kids and is unable to work. Their combined salary was just cut in half.
While numerous lenders are working with their customers to defer payments on cars and credit cards, none of the major mortgage lenders appear to be following suit. People will be in danger of losing their homes. Yes, the government can temporarily stave off foreclosures. But for how long? So, what is taking the suits in DC so long to act?
According to McConnell, it is about agendas for some:
“Two days ago, the press reported that a senior member of the House Democratic leadership told his colleagues quote, ‘This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.’
That is a senior member of House Democratic Leadership.”
McConnell went on to say that type of thinking is not only improper, it is the type of thought process that can “bog down these urgent discussions.”
“This is not a political opportunity. This is a national emergency.”
He pointed to the Democrat’s House version of a previous phase of bills that he had pushed through, highlighting that it was far from perfect, but that Republicans did not fight back and delay it trying to make changes and push their ideology into it.
Of the bill, McConnell said:
“We treated the bill with the bipartisanship and urgency that it requires.”
Russia, Ukraine, travel bans, the wall, Kavanaugh and impeachment. These have all been in the news over the past three years, and most of these topics have been split down the aisle, save a few Mitt Romney-like moments.
What we need to see from Washington is not business as usual or more party lines and talking points.
What we need is our elected Americans working hard and in unison to help protect and support all Americans, regardless of whether your voter registration card bears an R, a D or an I.
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