The Democratic House and Republican Senate have not seen eye-to-eye on the next round of COVID relief. The House put forward an absurd $3 trillion bill, while the Senate went with a more modest $1 trillion; Democrats offered to meet in the middle, but Republicans were unwilling to double their spending; Republicans suggested passing a targeted bill to handle only the major areas of agreement, but Democrats didn’t want a “piecemeal” approach that could ultimately leave many of their major priorities unaddressed.
Senate Republicans have now put forward a “skinny” bill priced at $500 billion that would cover only the bare essentials (a $300 weekly boost to unemployment to replace the expired $600 boost, more money for small business, etc.), basically reupping their offer of a piecemeal approach. It’s not even clear this will pass the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are already insulting the “emanciated” legislation.
Meanwhile, a stopgap $300 unemployment boost that Trump enacted via executive action is running out of money soon — but the economy is improving. Nonfarm employment fell by about 22 million between February and April, but it gained about half of that back by August. The unemployment rate shows a similar rebound, and last month it stood about where it had in late 2011. Things are not good, but they are improving rapidly.