(UnitedVoice.com) – As America’s economy spirals into a recession and millions of Americans face the prospect of being out of work for a significant amount of time, the government is quickly negotiating a Phase 4 rescue package. With each week that goes by, the economic impact of state government shutdowns due to COVID-19 is causing increased havoc on people’s lives, livelihoods, and communities across the country.
Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Monday that COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and devastating impact on the economy. She believes unemployment is already between 12% to 13% and growing. Yellen stressed that if people can return to work by June or July and return to a sense of normalcy this summer, a quick recovery is possible. However, she is concerned that the reality will be worse.
On March 27, less than two weeks ago, President Trump signed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act into law. The legislation provides direct payments to Americans, expanded unemployment insurance, and loans for small businesses and nonprofits that can turn into grants. It also gave loans to big businesses that provided them with much-needed liquidity.
Is More Aid on the Way?
In a rare sign of bipartisanship in a town that has been hyper-partisan over the last few years, Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appear to be signaling agreement with one another about how to move the country forward.
During Monday’s daily coronavirus task force meeting, the president suggested that Americans will need more aid as the COVID-19 situation evolves and businesses remain closed across the country. That aid includes another round of direct payments to Americans. Trump stated, “We’re going to take care of our people. It was not their fault… it is absolutely under serious consideration.”
On a Monday call with the Democratic House caucus, Pelosi said another $1 trillion is needed to ensure Americans have money and companies can continue to make their payroll. Last week, she proposed a fourth stimulus package that included infrastructure funding to put people back to work. Building up our infrastructure would also help with America’s recovery once this crisis is over. However, she has backed off of that to focus on immediate economic and healthcare needs.
Pelosi said she expects to put a package bill together next week so that the House can vote on it this month. Right now, Phase 4 could be as high as an additional $1.5 trillion on top of the combined approximate cost of $2.3 trillion for Phases 1 through 3. These certainly are expensive bills, but we’re living in unprecedented times.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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