Fourth Package

Photo Credit: Forbes.

By Isaac Cohen*

The return of the US Congress to Washington, this past Monday, signaled the disposition of both the legislature and the White House to approve a fourth economic rescue package, to alleviate some of the damage inflicted by the pandemic. It is not a stimulus package, because the virus still is ravaging almost two thirds of the United States. The stimulus will come when the health crisis is under control.

Negotiations started this week between the leadership of both the Democrat controlled House of Representatives and the Republican controlled Senate, together with the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, representing the White House. The House in May approved a $3 trillion proposal, while the Republican proposal, expected for the end of this week, may reach about half of that amount.

Among the main points subject to negotiation are the extension of unemployment benefits and another round of checks for individuals and couples; support for school openings and federal assistance for states and municipalities; more support for small businesses and liability protection for companies, schools, health care providers and non-profit organizations; and funding for testing, vaccine research and distribution.

There is urgency to approve the new package by August 7, before the Congressional recess. First, unemployment benefits, approved in March, expire by the end of this month. Second, there is evidence that rising infections have led to weaken the rebound. Finally, in an election year, incumbents seeking reelection do not want to appear reluctant to support a relief package.

*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, TELEMUNDO and UNVISION and other media.

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA.Com (MLN). Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia (UDC). Email: ramonjimenez169@gmail.com

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