A top Republican says $2,000 checks unlikely to pass Senate

Get ready for an extra $600 in your wallet. It comes after President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.

The new law says the checks have to be sent by Jan. 15, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it could come within a week.

It’s $600 for Americans making less than $75,000, and double that if you're a married couple making up to $150,000.
It tapers out for those making more, and it pays $600 for kids under 17.

Deb Bennett

It also revives federal assistance for unemployed Americans.

The pandemic virtually shut down conventions and concerts and left Deb Bennett out of work serving concessions in the Wisconsin Center District.

"I’m just glad for a roof over my head and food in my stomach and I’m not high into debt," said Bennett.

She’s living off of $370 of state unemployment help a week.

"I don’t have a car, so there’s one big bill I don’t have," said Bennett. "I don’t have cable and I just live a simple life."

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She did dip into her savings. The new COVID-19 relief package will mean an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment help for Bennett through March 14. She’s planning to boost her savings again.

"With the way it is, the average person or even with a family, you’re just hoping and praying nothing happens that you can’t handle it," said Bennett. "One little bill can throw you off."

The State of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development says it's reviewing the new unemployment requirements and awaiting federal guidance before sending out those weekly $300 federal unemployment benefits.

The federal law also renews the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses keep employees. It helps theaters that have been shuttered during the pandemic. The law will also help states distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

Senator Tammy Baldwin

"Storing them in ultracold cold storage for the Pfizer vaccine, and freeing up some medical personnel who are stretched thin and overwhelmed in their day jobs to actually give the vaccines is an additional struggle for state and local governments," Senator Tammy Baldwin said about the funds allotted for vaccine distribution.

Wisconsin's Democratic congressional delegation voted for the relief bill. Wisconsin Republicans voted against it, which was attached to a must-pass spending bill to keep the government open.

Senator Ron Johnson

"We’re approaching $28 trillion in debt, and of course, that's going to be attached to some massive omnibus spending bill that none of us will be able to read before we're asked to vote on it," said Senator Ron Johnson ahead of the Senate vote.

Democrats joined the president in pushing for larger relief checks, with the House voting Monday to approve those extra dollars -- $2,000 per person vs. $600. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the GOP leadership team, predicted it won't pass the Senate.