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What is in the new rescue package bill?

Posted at 6:50 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 18:50:35-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After months of deadlock in Washington D.C., there's momentum building in Congress towards passing a second COVID-19 relief bill. But it's not the deal Democrats were originally wanting, and it's not the deal Senator Mitch McConnell was originally wanting. The $908 billion proposal came from a group of bi-partisan senators last week.

Dustin Pugel, a senior policy analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says the measure has the bones to help many people in Kentucky.

"It does things like extend unemployment benefits that are expiring weeks from now - just the day after Christmas. It helps provide more aid directly to local and state governments, which is really important right now," said Pugel. "And it helps provide funding for things that allow the state to combat the coronavirus - including the distribution of a vaccine."

However, some economists say $908 billion is not enough money to help Kentucky and other states survive the rest of the pandemic.

"A $1.7 trillion stimulus alone would just be enough to hold us even in terms of unemployment and job loss," said Pugel.

So, the current stimulus bill lawmakers are looking at will be good enough to help people get through the short-term, but experts say it should be viewed as a temporary solution.

"If we think about it as a stop-gap measure through to when there's a new congress and a new administration federally, then it would be very helpful for Kentuckians," said Pugel.

There's also the issue of stimulus checks. Many people are hoping to get one. But Congress's current bill doesn't include them. However, that doesn't mean they're completely off the table forever. Experts say stimulus checks down the line could help boost the economy, just like they did a few months ago.

"We know that back in April, consumer spending was in a nosedive. When the stimulus checks started hitting people's mailboxes and bank accounts, it stopped the slide and actually helped it go back up, which is important because people's livelihood depends on us spending that money in the community," said Pugel.