Is $600 enough?

A new round of stimulus checks is on the way.
Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 4:38 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A new round of stimulus checks is on the way.

Sunday night, President Donald Trump put aside his grievances with the bill and signed the $900 billion COVID relief package into law. With that, unemployment benefits get a $300 boost for 11 weeks and each tax-filing American will receive $600.

The assistance is much less than the first round, but it has the support of Congress and the president’s signature.

After threats from the White House and last-minute attempts to increase the payments failed, Trump ultimately signed the bill.

While overall, the bill passed with overwhelming support, that $2,000 number that hung in the air over Christmas has North Dakotans wondering what could’ve been.

It’s been long-awaited, but those who have been calling for another stimulus check are getting just that. But that’s not what people are debating.

“I’m not sure it’s enough for some of the people that are out of work right now because of the pandemic. So... it’s better than nothing. What can you ask for?” Bismarck resident Gene Brown said.

According to North Dakota Job Service, the state’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly from October to November, and is more than double what it was this time last year. The package covers much more than just the direct payments.

North Dakota’s delegation is going into the New Year happy to have gotten a deal done after hard-fought negotiations.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a statement, “This legislation includes important priorities for North Dakota that we worked hard to get.”

Including payment protection, supporting education, and heath care resources.

“The highest priority in this package, though, of course is funding the distribution of the vaccines as well as the ongoing research, development, and distribution of treatments, and we’ve really turned a corner,” added Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

However, the fact that COVID relief was paired with so much other legislation was a point of contention. While he’s glad it passed, Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said, “...combining COVID relief with the omnibus spending bill, which was filled with items completely unrelated to pandemic relief, was wrong.”

The signing was delayed after the president spoke out against the bill. There had been speculation that one of Trump’s final actions as president would be being told his veto was overridden by Congress.

The package passed the House and Senate with overwhelming margins.

Despite the signing just happening, talks are back on. Reports say lawmakers are making their way back to the negotiations table to focus on increasing those payments.

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