This is my stimulus update for Saturday, July 18th.
RIP John Lewis (1940 – 2020)
So, first of all, I have some sad news.
Yesterday. Representative John Lewis of Georgia passed away from complications of pancreatic cancer. Representative Lewis is known for many things and for many causes, but in terms of stimulus, we’ve talked about him before in the May 28th stimulus update, where I told you that he wrote a letter to the Treasury Department and the IRS chastising them on the sorry state of the stimulus debit cards and the poorly executed rollout of them.
Representative Lewis was 80 years old when he passed.
RELIEF Act (Kamala Harris)
In terms of more stimulus proposals, we’ve seen the RELIEF Act proposed in the Senate this week by Senator Kamala Harris of California.
RELIEF stands for Rent Emergencies Leave Impacts on Evicted Families. RELIEF Act. This act would aim to help the tens of millions of Americans who are struggling to make rent or mortgage payments this month and risk losing their housing.
This act would seek to ban all evictions and foreclosures for a full year, it would incentivize moratoriums on energy and water shut offs, ban rent increases, provide a full 18 months to make up missed rent payments, eliminate penalties and late fees on late mortgage payments and late rent payments, facilitate the modification of mortgages, stop landlords and mortgage servicers from reporting unpaid rent to credit bureaus and prevent borrowers and tenants experiencing bankruptcy.
Here’s what Senator Harris had to say on MSNBC about her newly proposed Relief Act.
Chris Hayes: One of the people that has been pushing for action is Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat from California, who’s introduced a bill to ban evictions among other things during this pandemic and she joins me now. Senator, this deadline, I mean, the deadline is close. The House has done part of this, there’s going to be negotiations. Do you feel there is the urgency among your colleagues, particularly your Republican colleagues or the White House to act on this as we’re racing over a cliff?
Kamala Harris: There better be the urgency Chris because listen, in June, one third of Americans were unable to pay their housing payments, be it rent or mortgage. We’re looking at a cliff. We are just on the verge of falling and many Americans, millions, falling off a cliff because to your point, the benefits from the relief packages that we previously passed are about to expire. In fact, it’s estimated 20 million renters are looking at eviction. We have at least 15 million homeowners that are looking at foreclosure. And as far as I’m concerned, housing should be considered a civil right. And we should have a great sense of urgency. I worked on this issue back in 2011, when we were battling the banks around the foreclosure crisis, we ended up getting $20 billion out of the banks to deal with it, but people were losing their homes. And what that means is that we are talking about people falling deeper and deeper into despair.
So that’s why I’ve introduced the Relief Act. And what it’ll do is during the course of this crisis, it will ban foreclosures, ban evictions, ban increases in rent, that will also ban utility companies from turning off things like water, because of course, families need water to sustain themselves. Plus in the face of this pandemic, to wash our hands. And we’re also going to ban negative credit reporting. We’ve got to help people get through this crisis. And the last thing that we want is that people are going to end up being homeless through the course of this crisis. It’s just the morally right thing to do to help and it is right for the economy. But we’ll see when the Republicans and everybody comes back to DC, what we are going to have to battle about, but I’m prepared to fight this fight. It’s a good fight. And it’s a fight worth having.
$2,000 a Month Proposal
In the same interview, Senator Harris also brought up her $2,000 a month stimulus proposal that she proposed along with Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey.
So my sneaking suspicion is that this week we will see more YouTubers creating more videos about how the $2,000 a month stimulus is back on the table, etc.
It’s not on the table. It’s not a serious talking point to Republicans.
Just think about the math here. The one time, $1,200 check under the CARES Act, along with the $500 payments, the CARES Act basically cost (the stimulus checks), $300 billion.
Now kind of just extrapolating that, and this is conservative by the way, because these proposals for $2,000 a month would include more people than was included under the CARES Act.
So just very conservatively speaking and often the income limits are higher too.
Best case scenario, so to speak. A $2,000 one time payment would be about $500 billion.
You’re just kind of extrapolating $1,200 is 300 billion. $2,000 is 500 billion.
So $2,000 a month for six months, that would be 500 billion times six, that’s $3 trillion. Some of these proposals are talking about retroactively and a full year.
A full year of $2,000 a month would be $6 trillion.
I’m not trying to be mean here. I’m just trying to be realistic.
I know that many of you could really use $2,000 a month. But I don’t want to get your hopes up here.
Republicans are shooting for, as a starting point, it appears, $1 trillion for the next stimulus relief bill.
They won’t even look at the $3 trillion HEROES Act. Do you really think they’re going to support just stimulus checks alone to the tune of $3 trillion or $6 trillion?
It’s not going to happen in McConnell’s Senate. No matter what Democratic lawmakers say.
I think they’re putting out these proposals to make a point. They know they don’t have a chance in heck of passing. I mean, heck even in the HEROES Act, they just called for another single round of $1,200.
So please be realistic. I mean, you can go ahead and see the other’s perspectives here, but just doing some basic math, $2,000 a month isn’t going to happen.
At least not in McConnell’s Senate. That’s enough of that.
We’re going to see what the Republicans come up with next week. I guarantee you it’s not going to have $2,000 a month.
Senator Dianne Feinstein on Masks
I want to talk about the other Senator from California now, Dianne Feinstein.
Kamala Harris is our junior senator. Dianne Feinstein’s our senior Senator here in California.
She said this week that, “States that refuse to mandate face masks should be cut off from federal funds because they are putting the public health of Americans at risk.”
We know that Democrats and Feinstein’s a Democrat, are a big proponent of more state and local funding in the next relief bill. The Heroes Act and the House, they proposed almost $1 trillion of additional state and local funding.
So we know that that’s a pinnacle of what the Democrats are looking for in the next relief bill. Here’s Feinstein saying that states that refuse to mandate face masks shouldn’t get any federal money.
Feinstein said that, “Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. The situation is getting worse daily. Several states including California, Alabama, and Montana, already require masks in public. This should be universal. My hope has been that other governors would show the leadership to institute their own mask mandates. But so far that hasn’t happened. It’s time for Congress to step in. This is a matter of life or death, and partisan politics shouldn’t play a role.”
Secretary Mnuchin on the Future of PPP
Moving on to PPP.
Yesterday, Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary, was testifying before Congress and he said that he believes, “The next relief bill should extend the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program, but on a more targeted basis for smaller companies and those that are especially hard hit such as restaurants, hotels, and other travel and hospitality businesses.”
This is consistent with the overall Republican theme right now of seeking a more targeted stimulus package in the next relief bill.
With respect to stimulus checks, I told you about Mitch McConnell last week, talking about that $40,000 potential threshold. He didn’t really say that specifically, but he threw that number out there.
Now I think that’s pretty darn low. I think if he does throw that out there, that Democrats will try to negotiate him upwards and it will hopefully be negotiated upwards.
But then again, we’ve also heard some anonymous Republican sources reporting by Washington Post and others that they think that putting a cap on it would be too difficult to manage administratively.
So I don’t know. We’ll have to see what the Republicans roll out next week.
I hope they roll it out soon so we can talk about it, digest it and all that.
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