While US debates COVID relief, other nations maintain beefed up efforts



As the US prepares for the second round of stimulus checks for the year — this time at $600 — developed countries around the world have been maintaining beefed up relief efforts.

While the United States saw a nearly six-months-long political stalemate before the divided House and Senate leadership were finally forced back to the negotiating table, nations like Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada have increased their support steadily.

Just earlier this month, Japan, with a population of 127 million, announced another round of $708 billion in stimulus to help support and revive their Covid-ravaged businesses and workforce.

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a conservative, has led on a wage subsidy program for individuals who were put out of work as a result of the novel virus.

Since March, laid-off workers have been receiving 80 percent of their paychecks. The program was set to expire in November, but Johnson’s government opted to renew the program given how many people were benefiting from it.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel was able to get her conservative and Social Democrat coalition partners on board for two stimulus agreements in March and in June. In total, the government packages were worth nearly $1 trillion for an economy with a GDP of just under $4 trillion.

For scale, the United States’ GDP was over $22 trillion this year.

This month, Canada committed to spend up to $77 billion over three years starting in 2021 to support the country’s economic recovery. The package also guaranteed $1,200 for each child under six-years-old to support lower and middle-income families.

But the plan was not the first to be put in motion by the Canadian government. Soon after the novel virus hit western shores, Canada launched a program providing $1,400 a month for up to four months for any worker who lost their jobs or income as a result.

That program is still in place.

On Sunday evening, following months of complete paralysis on Capitol Hill, House and Senate leadership announced they had reached a deal on a coronavirus relief measure to be passed alongside a $1.4 trillion government funding bill.

Talks were revived by a bipartisan group of senators and House lawmakers after the 2020 election.

Eventually, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with fellow members of House and Senate leadership, pledged that the bodies would not break for Christmas without the package being pushed through.

The $900 billion package, which is widely expected to be passed Monday or Tuesday, establishes a temporary $300 per week supplement to jobless benefits and includes $600 direct stimulus payments to most Americans.

The compromise bill also provides more subsidies for businesses, more funds for schools and health-care providers, and eviction protection for renters.

In March, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion relief package which included a single round of $1,200 direct payments to most Americans.

With Post wires


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