A close-up of Mitch McConnell sweating in front of an American flag.

What Exactly Does Congress Think We Can Do With a $600 Stimulus Check?

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After months of stalling and debating and just general f*ckery, Congress looks to be on the verge of passing another stimulus bill. While the last relief package issued $1200 checks to most American adults, the new package manages to make that already paltry amount look positively bountiful.

The next round of checks is likely going to be only $600, which is a baffling amount. What exactly is $600 supposed to do for most people? The extra unemployment benefits have also been cut in half from the last package, from $600 and week to $300.

People have spent most of this year suffering financially—not to mention emotionally and in many cases, medically—and Congress has decided that a whopping total $1800 is enough to help us through the entire year?

While $600 is technically better than nothing, it also feels worse than nothing, like those jerks who leave a quarter as a tip for their restaurant server instead of nothing in order to make some sort of point about bad service. It’s the congressional equivalent of Jeff Bezos giving his employees $10 turkey vouchers as a holiday bonus. It’s insulting.

As usual, Twitter has some thoughts.

Following the journey of this long-overdue stimulus package has been infuriating. Like when Rep. Katie Porter revealed that Mitch McConnell had stonewalled all discussions in order to protect corporations from liability lawsuits. Or when Nancy Pelosi said she accepted a smaller bill because the vaccine was on the way and we have an incoming president who believes in science—a great thing, for sure, but it doesn’t help people buy groceries.

Or when Sen. Ron Johnson singlehandedly blocked the idea of $1200 checks.

Or this new report from the Washington Post that says White House aides talked Donald Trump out of supporting larger payments, as much as $2,000 per person:

Trump was in the middle of formally drafting his demand for the larger payments when White House officials told him that doing so could imperil delicate negotiations over the economic relief package, the officials said. Congressional Republicans have insisted that the relief bill remain less than $1 trillion, and it’s currently designed to cost around $900 billion. Larger stimulus checks could push the package’s total over $1 trillion.

When Donald Trump ends up coming down on the side of the people, it’s a really dark day for Congress.

(image: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.