Negotiations for another round of stimulus relief encountered another obstacle after President Trump ordered Republicans to cease talks until after the election last week. The move has left millions of struggling Americans with no lifeline amid unprecedented levels of unemployment.
USA TODAY recently conducted a poll asking its readers what they want the most from the next package. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds stated a desire for additional $1,200 payments, while one-fourth of respondents wanted more funding for enhanced unemployment benefits.
Americans have waited on lawmakers to compromise on a bill for months, and frustrations are mounting.
USA TODAY interviewed Rebecca Espinoza, a recent college graduate and mother of three who could not find work as a health care administrator until last week. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offered her a temporary position as a health aid, but she is uncertain if it will become a permanent job.
“I’m very worried about not having long-term employment. I have a lot of student debt,” Espinoza told reporters. She said that she was already receiving calls from loan servicers about repayment. Despite reducing household expenses and sticking to a budget, Espinoza’s family has relied on her husband’s pension payments from the Army.
She expressed a desire for more stimulus checks and renewed funding for supplemented unemployment insurance to support out-of-work Americans like herself. “We constantly see our government bailing out corporations. It would be great if regular people could get this money. More cash payments would really help people.”
USA TODAY also reached out to Linda Jacobsen, a retired single mother without a degree. She noted that she is in a better situation financially because of her retirement savings efforts. However, Jacobsen expressed sympathy for other single mothers looking for work while supporting a family.
“I know how awful it must be, especially for single mothers who aren’t in a position to handle their future. Americans are desperate right now. I know people who are in dire need for the $1,200 checks right away,” she told reporters.
It has been months since enhanced unemployment benefits expired on July 31. Last week, the Trump administration gave contradictory messages regarding a bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned down the White House’s $1.8 trillion proposal.
Although the Trump administration’s latest offer is $200 billion higher than it’s previous stimulus package, it still falls far short of the House’s comprehensive $2.2 trillion deal, which President Trump vetoed last week.
The most recent deadlock occurred following hopes that Congress was inching closer to a compromise. Last week, Pelosi met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss provisions but faced President Trump’s orders to end negotiations.
However, later that day, the president tweeted support for several standalone bills such as more $1,200 direct payments and additional funding for volatile industries like airlines. During a Friday interview with Rush Limbaugh, the president stated a desire to “go big” on the next bill.
“I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering,” the president said.
Earlier that day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked that more stimulus is “unlikely in the next three weeks.” However, Pelosi told MSNBC that she and Mnuchin would continue hashing out their disagreements to create another measure.
- Menton, Jessica. “Here Are the Top Two Things Americans Want in the next Stimulus Package.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 10 Oct. 2020, eu.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/10/10/covid-19-stimulus-update-top-two-things-americans-want-package/5937929002/.