Congressional leaders in Washington appear to be closing in on an end-of-year stimulus package.
Granted, we’ve heard that before. But, with the clock ticking not only toward their winter recess but a loss of unemployment benefits for an estimated 12 million workers, there is reason to believe they may actually get to the finish line.
In addition, the leaders need to complete a deal because they are on the clock to finish a new spending bill. They must do so by midnight Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
What does that mean for New Jersey business owners? Here’s the best we could aggregate from a variety of news reports:
- Support for small businesses? A certainty. It’s just a matter of determining how much will go out and who is eligible.
- Extension of unemployment payments? A certainty. But, don’t count on a return of the additional $600 payment — although a smaller number may be in the works.
- Direct checks to individuals? It now appears likely — but figure the check to be around $600, or half of last spring’s check.
- Direct funding to states? Not likely. Republican leaders still oppose what they are calling a “Blue State Bailout” — even though the two of the states that would get the most federal aid (Texas and Florida) are run by Republicans. New Jersey, by the way, is slated to receive $8 billion (fifth-most among all states) in one proposed formula.
- Lawsuit protections to businesses? That appears to be out, too. Though — you never know — it is a negotiating chip with the direct bailout to states.