JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another round of $1,200 stimulus payments, federal unemployment relief and protection against evictions are some of the issues lawmakers are negotiating as part of the next federal stimulus package.
With the Senate scheduled to recess Friday, the pressure is on for lawmakers to make a deal.
Lydia Jones said every dollar from the unemployment checks she has received since losing her job in March has been accounted for.
“The $600 takes care of my rent, and then the other money takes care of my lights and other essential items,” Jones said. “This is money just to help people survive.”
Jones lives a simple life. She doesn’t have internet and pays $65 a month for a bus pass. And she’s actively looking for a job.
“I’d rather have an income,” Jones said.
But until she gets a new job, she’s relying on those benefits. The problem is Jones says the Department of Economic Opportunity stopped paying her out of nowhere in May, and the DEO still hasn’t fixed the problem.
Jones said the last time she got a check was May 19.
Two and a half months later, the DEO told Jones it is working on getting her that money.
But now Jones is faced with another reality check. That extra $600 that she relied on from the federal government has ended.
Republican lawmakers are arguing people are making more money at home than going back to work.
“There may be some people doing that, but there’s a lot of people who need it for their basics,” Jones said.
But studies show between 40% and 68% of people receiving unemployment benefits were making more with the extra $600 every two weeks than they were previously at work.
At this point, while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree unemployment benefits need to be extended, as for how much is still heavily debated.
But one issue Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said everyone is on board with is “things about checks in the mail.”
“I think there’s enormous bipartisan support,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin has said another round of $1,200 stimulus payments could hit people’s bank accounts this month if a deal is reached.
Technically, a deal needs to be reached by Friday, but party leaders have said they will push that back to reach an agreement because, if they don’t, the possibility of those stimulus checks and extra unemployment benefits will have to wait until Congress reconvenes in September.