COVID-19

What House Democrats have proposed for a new COVID-19 stimulus bill

David Brancaccio, Scott Tong, and Alex Schroeder May 13, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Both sides have their demands, but will Republicans and Democrats be forced by necessity to find a middle ground? Graeme Jennings/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

What House Democrats have proposed for a new COVID-19 stimulus bill

David Brancaccio, Scott Tong, and Alex Schroeder May 13, 2020
Both sides have their demands, but will Republicans and Democrats be forced by necessity to find a middle ground? Graeme Jennings/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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House Democrats have unveiled another stimulus bill that would double the amount of aid the federal government has already provided — to $6 trillion.

By most accounts this is an opening bid in a conversation on whether and how Washington should respond as some existing aid programs run out.

Marketplace’s Scott Tong has the details on the main components of this new stimulus.

“There’s a trillion dollars for state and local governments, which have been walloped because tax revenue hasn’t come in,” Tong told “Marketplace Morning Report Host” David Brancaccio. “The money would pay health workers, first responders, teachers at risk of losing their jobs.”

There’s also a second set of direct checks, on top of the initial $1,200 checks from this spring that were only meant to last one month, Tong said. The bill also extends extra benefits for the unemployed that are currently set to run out in July.

The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

David Brancaccio: Now, a vote on this is scheduled for Friday, but Republicans in control of the Senate say this is going precisely nowhere, right?

Scott Tong: The rare window of bipartisanship in crisis is surely less open.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls this a “laundry list of pet priorities” on the left. But necessity could get the two sides talking. I spoke this morning with Mark Mazur at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. He thinks a next stimulus is “highly likely” because of how challenging things are.

Mark Mazur: I think if you look at the current economic situation, you’d be hard-pressed to say the U.S. is in a good place. I also think that if you look at the fiscal situation of state and local governments, it’s quite dire, and that it almost surely is the responsibility of the federal government to do something to help out.

Tong: Keep in mind the unemployment rate is now 1 in 7 Americans. That could become 1 in 5 before long.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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