Congress Might Finally Approve Stimulus. Here’s What Americans Say They Need It For.

Flight attendants, airline pilots and other aviation workers hold a protest urging the US Congress to pass a Covid-19 relief package on September 9, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

By Meghan McCarthy

December 16, 2020

As a breakthrough in negotiations appears imminent, COURIER asked Americans what they would do with a new stimulus check as the coronavirus continues to rampage across the country.

More than 200 days after House Democrats passed a coronavirus relief bill that Republicans have refused to act on, congressional leaders are reportedly close to a deal to help ease the suffering of millions of Americans.

Politico reports that the deal is roughly $900 billion and will include stimulus checks around $600 and restart enhanced federal unemployment benefits at $600 per week. At this price tag, the final deal is far less than the $3 trillion Democrats proposed in May, but nearly double what Senate Republicans offered earlier this fall.

Since August, Americans who are unemployed have gone without enhanced federal unemployment benefits. That extra $600 per week supplemented notoriously meager state unemployment payments, and is credited with staving off the worst economic hardship for the majority of the summer.

READ MORE: A Timeline of Failure: How the GOP Has Continued to Hold Up Coronavirus Relief

The news comes close to several critical benefit expiration dates. In 10 days, an unemployment program for gig workers, freelancers, and self-employed people is set to run out. So is extended unemployment eligibility. Together, those two programs provide assistance for 14 million Americans.

With that in mind, COURIER asked readers how stimulus checks could help them and their families. While the news was welcome by some, the scale of hardship across the United States is staggering. From diapers to groceries and medical bills, Americans are desperate for assistance from the government—and that may, at least partially, be arriving soon.

Here is what they said:

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