Chances for a second round of coronavirus-stimulus payments aren’t dead but are certainly on life-support, lawmakers said.
A stripped-down stimulus plan introduced last week failed to garner enough votes in the Senate to move ahead and most are predicting relief measures will be on hold until after the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Alabama’s Senators split their votes on the $500 billion measure, which didn’t include stimulus checks but was seen as a first step towards direct payments as part of a larger bill. Sen. Doug Jones joined fellow Democrats in voting against the measure; Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, backed the GOP bill.
There is no indication Congress is close to reaching any sort of deal.
When asked by CNN if stimulus negotiations were dead, Shelby replied “it looks that way.”
He held out hope, however, that a deal could be reached.
“You never know around here,” Shelby said. “Sometimes things look bleak and they’re revived, and so forth. We thought the scaled-down version was a good bill, a good timing and everything else. The Democrats obviously thought otherwise. That’s all we can do, is tee it up and go with it.”
Jones said his vote reflected the failures of the GOP bill.
Instead of a stimulus package, Congress will turn its attention to a temporary funding measure that will keep the government operating past Sept. 30. If the Senate passes a stimulus bill at the end of September, the House will have until Oct. 1 to approve a measure, leaving little time for relief package.
The previous stimulus funds – up to $2,400 for married couples plus $500 for dependent children – went to roughly 160 million Americans. The majority of people who received stimulus funds – 52% – said they used the money to pay down debt, according to a survey. Thirty-two percent said they mostly saved the money; 15% said they spent or were planning on spending the money.