Americans' message to the next president: Pass more stimulus
Regina Siciliano is hopeful that passing another stimulus deal will be a top priority for the next president of the United States.
The 60-year-old Norristown, Pennsylvania, resident lost her design job in March and is on the verge of being forced to find a new apartment in the middle of a worsening pandemic. She's one of the millions of long-term unemployed Americans who have been watching and waiting for Congress and the White House to pass another stimulus deal.
Stimulus is "absolutely necessary…on every level, personal and professional," Siciliano says. "The lack of action and compromise has been unconscionable."
She's far from alone: 70% of Americans support a second economic impact payment, according to a September Gallup poll, and about two-thirds of voters said that more coronavirus aid should be the Senate's top priority, according to an October CNBC/Change Research poll.
Kim Goff also hopes that politicians can put aside their differences and come together to help the tens of millions of Americans still out of work. The 35-year-old single mother lost her job in March and says she is supporting her 10-year-old son on less than $1,000 per month in Tampa, Florida.
Though she did not vote in 2016, she says she voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden this year because she doesn't like how President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus and the economy.
"A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move together toward that better, bigger vision," Goff says. "That's what our country needs, especially now more than ever."
Where things stand now with future stimulus deals
Despite improving employment figures, job growth is starting to slow month-to-month, and the U.S. still has 10 million fewer jobs now than it did in February. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell also reiterated this week that more stimulus is necessary to help the economy improve, saying that America is risking another 2008-like financial scenario without it.
"Further support is likely to be needed to avoid further spread of the virus and help individuals who, with the expiration of the CARES Act payments, are seeing their savings dwindle," Powell said at a press conference Thursday. The CARES Act, which went into effect in March, provided one-time stimulus payments to many individuals and households and temporarily boosted unemployment benefits by an extra $600 per week.
Since many of the provisions, including the extra $600, expired at the end of July, Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been arguing over what to include in a subsequent deal.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set on a $2.2 trillion relief deal, while Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put forth a "skinny" bill worth an estimated $500 billion. The two sides and the White House have been unable to strike a deal between the two packages, primarily disagreeing on aid for state and local governments, enhanced unemployment insurance and liability protections for businesses.
As of Friday afternoon, Biden is ahead of Trump in key states including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, according to NBC News. But not all of the votes had been counted yet in the race for the presidency.
It is not clear what Trump would be open to signing in a potential lame duck session, if anything. McConnell, who won his reelection campaign this week, said on Wednesday that passing another economic stimulus bill before the end of the year will be "job one" when the Senate returns next week.
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