House Democrats introduced a new $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Tuesday. But what’s making headlines — beyond it being the largest relief package in our nation’s history — is the bill’s proposal for a second round of stimulus checks.
The proposal would follow the same guidelines used in the first round of stimulus checks, awarding $1,200 to American adults with an annual income of less than $75,000. This edition deviates from its predecessor in compensating minors — instead of giving families $500 per dependent under the age of 17, it would give $1,200 for up to three dependents, regardless of age (maxing out at $6,000 per family).
Though no decision will be made on the relief package until Friday, it has already drawn both unbridled support and rampant criticism from media pundits and political figures alike.
An op-ed published by The Hill suggests that stimulus measures are largely ineffective in general.
- “Congress should not heed the siren song of stimulus spending,” Adam Michel wrote. “Instead of searching for expensive ways to prop up the economy, lawmakers should pursue cheaper effective reforms that let the economy grow sustainably, which means removing existing barriers. Jettisoning onerous regulations, licensing rules and mandates will allow businesses and workers to adjust and pursue opportunities as the economy restarts across the country.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany took to Twitter to express her dissent, calling the relief package “unserious.”
❌Would allow direct stimulus payments for illegal immigrants by eliminating social security number verification— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) May 13, 2020
❌Imposes federal mandates on how states must run elections by eliminating ID requirements for in-person voting & more
Political columnist E.J. Dionne argues that ‘recovery would be a bargain at $3 trillion.’
- “Sure, the sticker shock of a $3 trillion package will become another convenient line of attack for those who don’t want to address its specifics,” explained Dionne. “... Yet its size is also its advantage, not only as an opening bargaining position for the House against a recalcitrant Senate GOP, but also as a measure of what (Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H.) Powell called ‘a level of pain that is hard to capture in words.’”
Powell himself acknowledges the new package could curtail economic decline and lead toward recovery.
- “The record shows that deeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy,” he remarked during a virtual meeting Wednesday. “Additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery. ... Not acting is the most expensive course.”
Bloomberg opinion columnist Karl W. Smith explains why Republicans are hesitant in resisting the bill’s overarching effects.
- “The temptation for states to take advantage of congressional generosity to fund a wish list of projects is understandable,” he noted. “Fulfilling those wish lists, however, will undermine public trust and could create a backlash that threatens future aid — not only for this crisis but also for future ones. Congress therefore has responsibility to provide aid that is sufficient but appropriate to the situation.”
Fox News’ Brian Brenberg opines that Republican hesitance to accept the relief package is in business’ best interest.
- “Republicans shouldn’t budge on this — businesses need protection from frivolous lawsuits in order to reopen their doors, rehire employees and lead America into economic recovery,” he wrote. “A liability shield would ensure that if businesses are operating according to the best public health information knowledge available — the same information used by political leaders and health officials — then they won’t have to worry about facing lawsuits down the road if our understanding of proper care changes. ... Trillions of dollars of relief have already shown us that government spending simply cannot save a shuttered economy.”
An editorial from The Washington Post suggests partisan politics should be put aside to accept the relief package.
- “(A)s even many Republican senators admit, red and blue state and local governments alike have taken a revenue hit and need aid, as will households — especially low-income ones — small businesses and health care,” the editorial board reasoned. “Ms. Pelosi’s bill is expensive, and studded with pet Democratic policies like reinstating much of the state and local tax deduction for federal income taxpayers. But it actually omitted much of the wish list of the House’s most progressive members, a bit of restraint Republicans could choose to see as a sign of Ms. Pelosi’s willingness to be pragmatic, as she has in previous talks. ... Republicans should start talking in earnest, sooner rather than later. The country’s needs are too urgent to withstand much more partisan posturing.”
President Donald Trump wasn’t shy in sharing his view on the bill.
- “Well, it’s, as they say, DOA, right? DOA. Dead on arrival,” he told a reporter Wednesday afternoon. “Of course, Nancy Pelosi knows that.”