People are really hurting and yet there does not appear to be a stimulus check on the horizon. The disagreement centers on the amount financial aid for state and local governments. Democrats will agree to another round of stimulus checks for Americans if Republicans go along with a large bailout package for cities and states. Threading the needle is difficult, as many blue states are suffering from significant historical financial shortfalls. Republicans will not support any bailout package attempting to exploit the crisis to pay for pre-pandemic deficits. So, for now, there appears to be an impasse on stimulus checks for the rest of 2020. Stimulus checks are still likely in the first quarter of 2021.
Even without stimulus checks, Congress appears to be close to passing a couple of spending bills to address other financial issues to help people struggling. Here are some highlights.
Eviction Moratorium Extended
An extension of the moratorium on evictions of a few more weeks (possibly until the end of February). The current moratorium ends on January 1 and could leave millions in a precarious situation during the holidays.
Student Loan Payments
Federal student loans will remain in forbearance for maybe as long as May. Don’t forget that there is still the big question about the mass forgiveness of student loans under a Biden presidency.
It is not clear if the 12 million homeowners in forbearance will get continued relief on their mortgages. The larger question is how banks will deal with the ‘back payments’ after payments begin again. It is likely that at least another month or two of mortgage forbearance will be included.
Federal Unemployment Assistance
I expect the $300 per week federal add-on to state unemployment benefits to continue for at least two more months.
Assistance For Small Businesses
There will definitely be more money for small businesses, but details are still murky. The ‘Payroll Protection Program’ (loans to meet payroll) is likely to continue into 2021 but additional small business loans (EIDL operating expense loans) are not a certainty at this point.
I think an apt description would be ‘stimulus light.’ There are some benefits here, but nothing as large or as sweeping as the past stimulus package. Of course the situation is very fluid, so stay tuned for updates.
Helping you make the most of God’s money!