Pelosi and Mnuchin Agree to No Shutdown

Pelosi and Mnuchin Agree to No Shutdown

This is my stimulus update for Friday, September 4.

August Jobs Report

Today we’re going to talk about what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi agreed to yesterday, no, it’s not stimulus, but it is related to stimulus, and this is a positive thing, I am going talk about that.

But first, let’s briefly go over the August jobs report, which the Labor Department released this morning.  1.4 million jobs were added in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, seasonally adjusted, this is down from 10.2% in July, 11.1% in June, 13.3% in June, and 14.7% in April.

This is the first time that the unemployment rate has been in single digits since it was 4.4% in March, which was obviously before the lockdowns were enforced en masse. Before the pandemic really hit in this country, I will remind you, the unemployment rate was at historic lows, 3.5% in February.

So this is obviously good news, but of course there are still 11.5 million fewer jobs in the current economy than there were in February.  As in previous months, the decline in unemployment in August was largely due to people coming back to work after temporary layoffs, however the number of individuals who said that they believe their layoff or job loss to be permanent rose to 3.4 million in August, there are still many, many people who don’t believe that their job will come back, and that’s frightening.  So we’re quite far from out of the woods in terms of our economy.

But personally, I think this jobs report makes the HEROES Act a complete non-issue, as if it were an issue before, and I really wish that Pelosi and Schumer would stop talking about it as though it was a serious piece of legislation, which it wasn’t.

But on the other extreme, my fear is that some Republican senators may look at this bill and say, “Ah, we’re fine.”  Because they’re looking at a statistic, a number on a report, they’re not thinking of the individual lives, it’s like that quote usually attributed to Joseph Stalin, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin Agreement on Appropriations

Anyway, speaking of Pelosi and Mnuchin, Steven Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi have informally, verbally agreed that stimulus talks should be kept separate from appropriations bills funding talks in Congress this month to avoid a government shutdown.

I’ve gone over the appropriations bills and continuing resolutions in a fair amount of detail previously, so I’m not going to go over that again other than to say my fear was that when Congress debates the government funding bills this month in anticipation of the beginning of the government’s new fiscal year in October that stimulus talks would be mingled with them, thereby muddying the waters and complicating things.

They agreed that the continuing resolutions should be clean and free from bipartisan controversy.  If this actually happens in Congress, if Congress, both houses, are in line with Mnuchin and Pelosi on this, that should free up the “brilliant” minds in Washington, D.C. to focus on stimulus talks this month rather than endlessly debating appropriations which could lead to a government shutdown.

So this is a positive thing.  Does it mean a stimulus bill is a slam dunk this month?

No, nothing’s ever a slam dunk until the ball is actually through the hoop, we’ve all seen basketball games where a professional NBA player, wide open, goes for the dunk, you’re like, this is a slam dunk, but nope, it hits the rim and bounces out, other team gets the rebound.

Put another way, it ain’t over til it’s over.  Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and don’t count your dunks before they slam.

But a good sign nonetheless.

Mike Pence on More Stimulus Checks

I mean, even Mike Pence wants more stimulus checks, here’s a clip from this morning:

Mike Pence said, “Nobody wants to give direct payments to American families more than President Donald Trump again.  We sent those checks to American families, it helped people through this tough time.”

They’re still talking about it.  We are now less than two months away from the November election, and Pence is here bringing up stimulus checks, unprompted, the question that Kayla asked him was about the government shutdown and avoiding that, Pence brought up stimulus checks.

They’re still top-of-mind for this administration, and I don’t think a guy like Pence would voluntarily bring up stimulus checks again this close to the election if he seriously thought there’s not a snowball’s chance in heck of another round coming.

And this is after the jobs report was released, so it’s not like the White House is saying, “Ah, unemployment’s in single digits, no more stimulus.”

Republican Senators, of course, are a different story altogether. Let’s see what happens next week.

That’s my take, anyway.  So I’m keeping hope alive.

The full interview is only about three and a half minutes long. Here’s the link if you want to watch it.

Misleading Article on Fox

Before I move on to unemployment, I do want to mention this potentially confusing article I saw on Fox, in my August 26 update I told you about how those married to those behind on child support, many of those individuals, the ones married to those behind on child support, did not get their original stimulus check, even though they should have.

It seems that their stimulus check was improperly seized on account of their spouse being behind on child support.  That shouldn’t happen.

The spouse behind on child support would have their stimulus seized, but the spouse of that individual shouldn’t, and the IRS announced that it was going to make this right, well there’s a confusing article on Fox that’s circulating this morning, and it says, “When you create a system fast like the stimulus checks, the language in the rules or what’s left out can have unintended consequences. In the case of the stimulus check roll-out,  parents in child support arrears had their money re-routed to pay down that back child support tab. It was a mistake, according to the IRS.”

If you read this, and just take it for what it says, you’d think that those who are behind on child support should have received a stimulus check, right?  This is incorrect and misleading, it’s only those who are married to those behind on child support, their stimulus check may have been improperly seized, review my August 26 update for all the details on that.

Unemployment Update

Well, the day is here, Nebraska has finally decided to apply for a FEMA grant to pay retroactive $300-a-week unemployment to eligible claimants.  It will be submitting its application to FEMA today.

Bad news for Kansans, though, Governor Laura Kelly originally wanted the payment to be $400 a week, meaning that the state of Kansas itself would pitch in the additional $100 a week, but yesterday Republican lawmakers in Kansas rejected the additional $100 per week in funding.


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