Good news -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has released the details of the next relief spending package and scheduled a vote to pass it this Friday.
The really good news, at least in my opinion, is that this package does not appear to include more funding for the accountable Paycheck Protection Program.
The text of the bill, which spans more than 1,800 pages, includes assistance to state and local governments, hazard pay for frontline health care workers, forgiveness of student debt and bolstering Medicaid and Medicare. The bill is known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act.
The bill also includes provisions to assist farmers, protect renters and homeowners from evictions and foreclosures, and extend family and medical leave provisions previously approved by Congress. The legislation would also provide relief for essential workers, such as aviation, rail and Amtrak workers, as well as extend work visas for immigrants.
In addition to the details mentioned above, the bill also includes more stimulus checks for Americans that will begin at $1,200 with a maximum of $6,000.
As a poor person, it's admittedly easy for me to celebrate another round of stimulus checks that could benefit myself, but regardless of one's personal interests this is almost certainly a better use of funds than the roughly $600 billion we've flushed down the toilet at the Small Business Administration.
Even including a second round of stimulus checks, the cost of that will still be slightly less than the first two rounds of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.
With all of that said, Congress may will pass a third round of funding for the Paycheck program and I would say it's more likely than not that they will. I think it's a waste of money, but the program has cynical political importance.
Now, for the bad news -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won't hold a vote on another aid package until at least June. McConnell may believe that waiting until next month will give him time to come up with better reasons not to pass more stimulus, but I think waiting will backfire. Partial reopenings are not going to help very much and jobs numbers reported in the first week of June will probably reflect that unemployment climbed above 20 percent this month.