American lawmakers (elected representatives) are talking this week about passing (approving) a second stimulus package.
A stimulus is some action that provokes or causes a change in something else. A package here means a group of actions or laws for the same purpose.
A stimulus package is money the government gives to people when the economy is doing poorly, such as now because of the coronavirus crisis.
Because of COVID-19 (coronavirus), many people are having a hard (difficult) time financially (with money). They don’t have jobs or can’t work.
The first stimulus package in May increased unemployment benefits.
Unemployment refers to people without jobs. Unemployment benefits refers to the amount of money the government will pay you for a limited amount of time — usually just a few months — while you look for another job.
And it’s unemployment benefits that have become the main sticking point (reason for disagreement) in passing a new stimulus package this month.
The first stimulus package gave people an extra $600 each week on top of (in addition to) their regular state unemployment benefits.
Here’s the disagreement: The Democrats want to continue this. The Republicans want to eliminate (get rid of) this or reduce it to a much smaller amount.
The Democrats say that people really need this money to live.
The Republicans say that giving people an extra $600 a week is an incentive (good reason) for people to stay home and not work.
Right now, they are deadlocked — neither side will compromise (are willing to give up something), so no decision can be made.
Unfortunately, that’s nothing new in American politics.
The people who are suffering (being hurt) by this deadlock aren’t the politicians, of course. They still have their jobs! It’s the people out of work (without a job).
Maybe it’s time to stop paying politicians their salaries until they pass another stimulus package?
P.S. For more vocabulary related to unemployment, see Daily English 596 – Applying for Unemployment Benefits.
To understand American political parties, listen to Cultural English 26.
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