DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — New research shows the first round of stimulus checks sent to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic prevented a large increase in poverty. A Columbia University study estimated the country’s poverty level would have jumped to roughly 16 percent had checks not been distributed.
Before the crisis, the poverty level was 12.8 percent. According to Fox Business, the poverty rate remained steady at 12.7 percent in the months that followed. As a comparison, Fox Business reports the poverty level hit 16 percent during the 2008 financial crisis.
In the study published by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy, researchers say they believe stimulus checks and job benefits will provide up to $500 billion in income transfers in 2020. The research is based on the idea roughly 70 percent of eligible people got a check and about 60 percent of Americans who were out of work received the expanded unemployment aid.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a person is living under the poverty line if they earn less than $12,760 per year. The number jumps to $26,200 per year for a family of four.
In late March, President Trump signed a stimulus package into law that included one-time payments of up to $1,200 for eligible Americans. As the weeks have turned into months since the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed, many Americans are wondering if, and when, a second check or prepaid debit card will arrive as the pandemic continues.
In late June, President Trump said his administration would push another stimulus package. The president offered few details, however, saying, “It will be very good. It’ll be very generous.”
When asked how much the payment might be, Trump said, “You’ll find out about it. You’ll find out.” Trump added that he thought the relief funds would receive bipartisan support and could be announced “over the next couple of weeks.”
According to comments made last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, we should get a better idea of a relief timeline before the end of the month.
“As you’ve heard suggested, I said back in March we would take another look at this… probably in July… take a snapshot of where we are, both on the healthy front and the economic recovery front, and decide at that point what needs to be done further,” McConnell said on Tuesday.
Congress and the Senate will recess from July 3 to July 20. It’s unlikely the Senate will consider any additional relief packages before July 20.