Unemployed Texans holding on to hope for second stimulus check

It appears Congress could reach an economic relief bill by the end of the week.

The so-called compromise bill could provide a lifeline to the millions of Americans who are still looking for work. Extended unemployment benefits are set to expire in just a couple of weeks.

Last week, more than 90,000 Texans applied for unemployment. A week before, it was 121,000.

There’s some news that Congress could reach a deal on a second stimulus check that would bring much needed help for Texans looking for work.

With just weeks until the end of the year, time is running out for more economic relief for struggling families and businesses.

Tara Hinton was a manager at the Hall Bar and Grill in Trinity Groves in West Dallas. She was laid off in March and the business has since closed. She’s since been living off of unemployment benefits.

“I have applied for a variety of jobs. The bars and restaurants that are open, everyone is on a hiring freeze because the capacity got reduced,” she said.

When the pandemic started, Congress passed a bill giving people supplemental unemployment checks. Those have expired.

Extended unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of this year if a deal in Congress isn’t reached.

Wednesday, it appeared there could soon be an agreement.

Capitol Building, seat of United States Congress, 1827, Washington DC, District of Columbia, United States of America, 19th century.

As soon as this week, Congress could vote on a $900 billion COVID relief bill that could extend unemployment benefits and even a return of supplemental checks, although they’d likely be smaller. The bill also appears to include another direct payment to Americans, although that amount will also likely be smaller.

READ MORE: Congress nears agreement on 2nd stimulus check in long-delayed COVID-19 relief deal

“People are suffering and hurting right now and we need to be able to get them relief, those checks,” said Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Arlington). “That money is going to go back into our local economy. It’s going to help keep some of these small businesses open.”

There could also be more loan money available for struggling businesses.

“There are businesses that have gone out of business and never coming back because they didn’t get the help they needed months ago,” said Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano). “There are American families that need unemployment benefits.”

It’s still unclear at this time how long any supplemental unemployment may last.

People, like Hinton, say anything will help. “Who’s going to want to renew a lease to somebody who is unemployed? What about the people who have not been able to pay their rent since April? Some people still waiting to hear back from TWC about them getting anything.”

This compromise bill is less than half of what was passed in March and a far cry from the more than $3 trillion in additional relief passed by the house this summer.

The president-elect says whatever Congress can pass this year should be considered a down payment until a better deal can be reached.