The government’s next steps could have a major impact on the economy — and on you.

Angela Lang/CNET

The federal government wants to push through another stimulus package to address the most pressing concerns facing the US as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The question is, when? And will it be too late to help those in the greatest need?

By many accounts, negotiations over another stimulus package are a disaster. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s intention to have a bill wrapped up by Aug. 7 is now the stuff of fantasy, as talks between Republicans and Democrats are barely inching along, stuck firmly on the overall price of the bill.

“The American people are suffering through no fault of their own,” said Florida Democratic Representative Val Demmings on Sunday. “We need to pass a meaningful bill.”

While there’s some optimism a bill could pass before the Nov. 3 election, others in Washington aren’t shy about airing their doubts. When and if a new coronavirus relief package is signed into law, here are all the ways it could benefit the economy — and you. This story updates often.

That second stimulus check

The fate of a second stimulus payment is currently tied up with package negotiations, though it’s also been suggested that President Donald Trump could sign an executive action to funnel more aid into the economy, potentially including another direct payment. 

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


Enhanced unemployment benefits for millions without jobs

A stop-gap measure for the federal government to fund $300 a week in enhanced unemployment pay only lasts six weeks and is already ending in some states. 

A major point of contention in the debate, Democrats want a new bill to provide $600 per week on top of states’ benefit just like the CARES Act did in March. Republicans want to slim the figure to $300.

Money for schools to fight the spread of COVID-19

Funding to pay for hygiene protocols, testing and other accommodations during the coronavirus pandemic are top priorities on both sides of the aisle to help mitigate the virus’ spread among students and faculty. 

As some schools opened through August, data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows a 16% increases in cases among children, from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3.

$100 bills

Enhanced hygiene, testing and modifications to school cost time and money, two things many facilities lack.

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Employee retention tax credits to help businesses keep staff

A program administered by the IRS already exists designed to give employers a tax break for keeping employees on the payroll, through the end of 2020. A new bill could extend or enhance the program into 2021. 

Payroll Protection Program for small businesses to stay open

Intended to help you retain your job, the Paycheck Protection Program provides forgivable loans to small businesses as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll — people who might have otherwise have lost their jobs during the pandemic. 

Eviction moratorium and rental assistance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used an obscure health law to suspend evictions through Dec. 13, as long as renters complete the necessary paperwork. 

Without eviction protections, it’s been estimated that up to 40 million people across 17 million households could lose their homes if the economy doesn’t recover before the latest protections lapse.


With mail-in ballots expected to rise this election year, the USPS will feel greater strain, with fewer resources.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Funding for the US Postal Service

Both Democrats and Republicans have advanced bills with an eye to help fund a US Postal Service in crisis ahead of an election in which up to 80 million people are expected to vote by mail

The House of Representatives’ bill passed but hasn’t been picked up by the Senate. The Senate’s “skinny” bill didn’t clear its chamber

Protection for businesses from coronavirus lawsuits

Liability protection is high on the agenda for Republican lawmakers. Introduced in the Republicans’ HEALS Act proposal, the measure would place a limit on lawsuits levied against employers, schools and health care providers in relation to coronavirus exposure, with exceptions made for gross negligence.

With the stimulus bill still undecided, follow along for the most up-to-date news on where negotiations stand. You can also brush up on the ins and outs of Trump’s payroll tax deferral and learn how the definition of dependents could change in a second stimulus check.

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