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Republicans propose targeted $1,000 stimulus checks

Fort Myers, FL / USA – 4/18/20 : United States Treasury check issued for Economic Impact Payment.
John Mantell / Shutterstock

"We recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your Administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis," Collins and the others told Biden, in a letter.

They're proposing a scaled-down package totaling $600 billion and including $1,000 stimulus checks for "Americans with the greatest need": individuals earning $50,000 or less and families making no more than $100,000.

Biden has said he's open to negotiating over who would be eligible for the next direct payments, but the White House says $1,400 stimulus checks are important for helping families struggling to pay rent and put food on the table.

The government's first, $1,200 stimulus checks — distributed to Americans last spring — were largely spent on essentials including groceries and housing, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has said.

The money also was used for investing, a bureau survey found, and was spent on other, unspecified things. Those may have included buying affordable life insurance — sales of policies have surged amid the pandemic.

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When are you likely to get another stimulus check?

Though Biden says he wants to work with Republicans, he also has indicated his Democrats are willing to get the job done without the other party. "The COVID relief has to pass," he said on Friday. "No ifs, ands or buts."

Democrats who control the House and Senate are planning votes this week on a budget bill that would allow them to proceed on the president's aid package with no Republicans on board.

At the moment, it's not clear whether the Republican Group of 10 will have an impact — or whether Biden's party will stand firm on $1,400 stimulus checks. And, the income cutoff for the new payments is up in air.

But the timing of the next stimulus checks is coming into sharper focus. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Congress may not approve them until mid-March.

"We’ll try to get that passed in the next month, month and a half," the New York Democrat said early last week, according to multiple media outlets.

Under that timetable, you're not likely to see another stimulus check until late March, maybe not before April. Why the delay? For one thing, the Senate will be consumed by the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, starting next week.

What if you need another stimulus check pronto?

Serious couple with little girl counting budget at home
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

If COVID is bashing your budget and you need additional cash right now, here are a few ways to come up with some money on your own — until Congress comes up with another stimulus check:

  • Reduce the cost of your debt. If you’ve had to use credit cards more than usual during the COVID crisis, you're likely piling up interest, and that gets expensive. Take control of your credit card debt — and make it go away more swiftly — by rolling your balances into a single, lower-interest debt consolidation loan.

  • Find creative ways to save. Cancel streaming services and any other monthly subscriptions you're not using. Resist the urge to order dinner deliveries, plan out homecooked meals, and go to the grocery store with a list you'll stick to. And, download a free browser add-on that will automatically hunt for better prices and coupons whenever you shop online.

  • Cut your insurance bills. Since many of us are driving less during the pandemic, car insurance companies have been giving price breaks. If your auto insurer is one of the stingier ones, shop around for a better policy. You can potentially save hundreds on your homeowners insurance by comparing rates to find a lower price on that coverage.

  • Refinance your mortgage and slash your payments. Mortgage rates have been lower than ever, so refinancing your existing home loan could provide major savings. Mortgage tech and data provider Black Knight says 19.4 million U.S. homeowners have the potential to cut their housing payments by an average $308 per month through a refi.

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Doug Whiteman Former Editor-in-Chief

Doug Whiteman was formerly the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNBC.com and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."


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