Most Americans have already received a single $1,200 stimulus check from the U.S. government. So far, a decision hasn't been made about more economic relief for the general public. The nation's unemployment rate sits at 6.9 percent for Oct. 2020. On Nov. 19, there were 187,396 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. alone.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic's ongoing fury, there hasn't been a second round of stimulus checks yet. On Nov. 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin halted the emergency Federal Reserve lending program in its tracks.
Why did Steven Mnuchin cut off funding?
Fed now openly disagreeing with Treasury Secty Mnuchin: "The Federal Reserve would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy."— Steve Liesman (@steveliesman) November 19, 2020
In a swift move, Mnuchin has returned $455 billion in unused funding. Initially, the money was set to help propel businesses that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs that the funding was reserved for don't expire until Dec. 31. Mnuchin said that Congress can use the money elsewhere.
The central bank immediately rebuked the decision and stated that the funding is necessary to help support the wavering economy. We are still in the throngs of a pandemic and businesses still need assistance.
CARES Act update as it stands today
Democrats furious tonight over Mnuchin decision to sunset— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) November 19, 2020
some of Fed's emergency lending programs over central bank's objections
Former Obama economist Jason Furman: ""This is a reckless mistake ... This is tying the hands of the United States in responding to this crisis."
Despite the fact that the March CARES Act was worth $2 trillion, nearly 25 percent of that reservation is being returned. After making the decision to reverse the funding, Mnuchin said that the funding that's already been sent out has achieved its intended purpose.
Mnuchin wrote, "Markets responded positively, spreads tightened, and banks continued lending."
Meanwhile, cities across the nation are in talks to tighten restrictions again in order to mitigate massive virus spreads.
Fed says economic stimulus package hasn't done its job
Mnuchin is confident that the market has clearly improved, but the Fed says otherwise. A typically quiet organization in regards to partisan matters, the Fed released a statement thoroughly criticizing Mnuchin's and the Trump administration's decision.
Specifically, the Fed said that it "would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy."
In other words, the funding still had work to do before Mnuchin returned it. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that it's too soon to eliminate government assistance for businesses and individuals.
Mnuchin hasn't spoken about stimulus checks in weeks
One final comment on today's Treasury announcement: It really gives away the game that Secretary Mnuchin wants to extend the programs designed to protect Wall Street while ending the programs intended to help small businesses and state and local governments.— Bharat Ramamurti (@BharatRamamurti) November 19, 2020
Prior to the presidential election, Mnuchin (Republican) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) were at a standstill regarding a second stimulus bill. While they agreed on a second round of stimulus checks, the parties couldn't settle on state and local government funding, employer COVID-19 liability protection, and the full dollar value of the package.
Now, it seems like Mnuchin is going in reverse.
Has the second stimulus check passed?
Until Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement on a package, Americans won't be receiving a second stimulus check. With the election now in our wake, some say that we might not make progress on the matter until at least the beginning of 2021.