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Congress Strives to Achieve a Covid Relief

Zacks Equity Research
·2 min read

Ahead of the final opening bell of this holiday-shortened week, we find ourselves not knowing a lot of things we think we knew when the week began: home sales were taking the housing market into the lead among U.S. economy industries, joblessness was again a rising problem for the country, but at least there was a new relief package which would begin to send out personal checks to individuals starting next week.

Not so fast — on any of it: both New and Existing Home Sales reports this week were disappointing compared to estimates, both Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims came down notably last week, and that Covid relief bill passed by Congress? It’s now is danger of being scuttled by a presidential veto. Apparently, $600 per month for struggling households is not enough for President Trump; liberal Democrats in Congress like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wholeheartedly agree. Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy strongly objects.

Congress people were hopeful they’d be at home with their families to celebrate the holidays by now. But failing (once again) to pass any sort of relief bill for the American people and businesses struggling under the weight of the ongoing pandemic holds very real risks for millions of citizens. For one, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expires Saturday, one day after Christmas, which would send millions of out-of-work Americans with no place to turn. After the first of the year, grace periods for rental payments also expire — a dire image here would be for families to be put out on the street in the heart of wintertime, right after the new year begins.

This is normally a time for putting one’s slippered feet up in front of the fire with a cold glass of eggnog. But if 2020 has taught us anything, “normally” does not apply here. While it’s possible that a presidential veto of the congressional relief bill could be overturned by supermajority, a lot needs to break fortuitously for this to come out without any complications. Unanimous consent for $2000 stimulus checks has just failed to pass the House; the body will reportedly reconvene on Monday.

Regardless what happens, we here at Zacks wish all our readers and subscribers a happy and healthy holiday season. If you’ve taken advantage of Zacks’ recommendations, your portfolio likely looks much stronger than it did at this time last year. We look forward to providing you further advantages into 2021 and beyond.

This column will take a break Friday in observance of Christmas Day. Markets will be closed. See you bright and early Monday morning!

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