STIMULUS CHECKS: Central Illinois lawmakers say package should be approved in next few weeks

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WMBD) — It may be weeks until Central Illinoisans see the next round of federal stimulus checks.

Unemployment benefits are still at the center of conversations in the nation’s capital. It’s been nearly four months since millions of Americans received their first stimulus check.

Lawmakers are calling for a second COVID-19 relief package to put money in American’s pockets while providing relief for industries and businesses, but it’s been a slow process and decisions continue to be delayed.

Lawmakers are going to have to cross party lines for President Trump to sign the dotted line for the next round of COVID-19 relief bills.

“If one side’s happy with the results, it’s not a good compromise,” said Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-16). “It’s tense, there’s not a lot of smiling going on, but I think we’ll get there.”

WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with Rep. Kinzinger Tuesday who said in the next few weeks Americans should expect a compromise regarding direct payments. Kinzinger said it’s a benefit we shouldn’t get used to.

“I think it’s something that can only be done in extreme circumstances because we have a huge debt problem we’re going to have to deal with next,” Kinzinger said.

Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17) is calling for the Senate to extend unemployment benefits. She said Illinoisans have told her the impact of the $600 a week payments have been life-saving for people in the Land of Lincoln.

“While negotiations are ongoing, Illinoisans have shared with me how unemployment assistance has helped them save their homes, and how they’ve worried about being out of work for months to come,” Rep. Bustos said.

Bustos said over 80 days ago, House Democrats passed the Heroes Act.

“It provides federal unemployment benefits through next January, puts money in the pockets of workers with a second of direct payments, invests in testing and contact tracing, and brings relief to our cities and towns,” Bustos told WMBD.

But Bustos said the Senate’s plan might not be enough.

“Unfortunately, their latest proposal is too little, and it’s too late as millions of Americans continue to file for unemployment,” Bustos said.

President Donald Trump fired back at Democrats this week, saying the party has no interest in helping the economy.

“All they’re really interested in is bail-out money to bail-out radical left governors and radical-left mayors,” Trump said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) barked back at the GOP-led Senate, questioning President Trump’s leadership during the pandemic.

“Not only is President Trump tweeting about so many things but not taking leadership in this crisis,” Sen. Schumer said.

Kinzinger said things are moving slowly in part because of the election in Nov.

“Everybody thinks ‘what does this mean for November?’ Especially now, it’s even worse than it’s ever been. I think we all need to put that aside,” Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger said this shows that government cannot replace a good economy.

Our most recent stimulus check coverage can be viewed here.

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