Debate continues over new stimulus package as unemployment benefits set to expire

Republicans in the U.S. Senate are expected to announce a new stimulus package to get the country through the pandemic, but the debate remains on what it should include and how much people will receive.

“The American job market needs another shot of adrenaline,” said Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell. 

House Democrats have already passed a bill calling for $1,200 stimulus checks and an extension of the emergency $600 unemployment insurance bonus, but Minnesota Senator Tina Smith says there will be changes from the last stimulus package.    
“What’s going to be different about this bill, well, I hope that we can do more to help people stay in their homes and in their apartments because I think that is sort of the growing crisis that we’re going to be seeing with so many people out of work,” said Sen. Smith.

Smith says 30 percent of Americans were not able to make a full housing payment for the month of July. The federal eviction moratorium expires this Friday, adding pressure for a deal.

“I think we’re going to get it done,” said President Donald Trump. “We’ll protect our workers, our schools, and our families, and protect them very strongly.”

Whatever the stimulus checks amount to, Senator Smith says she wants them to cover more people.

“I’m focused on making sure those checks account for folks living in your home that might be over 17, but are still really depended on the family for their living and want to make a change that maybe those 18 and 19 year olds may be covered as well,” said Smith.  

Senator Smith says another component of the bill should include guidance to schools on how to reopen this fall. Congress and the president are looking to pass a deal by the end of next week when those unemployment benefits expire and rent is due.