To date, Congress has passed four COVID-19 relief packages totaling about $3 trillion, the most recent of which, the CARES Act, was passed on March 27th, 2020. The House of Representatives subsequently passed the $3 trillion Heroes Act on May 15th. The Senate has yet to take up the legislation or pass a fifth bill of its own. Throughout the summer, the House, Senate, and White House have engaged in on-again, off-again talks aimed at agreeing on a fifth relief package. The Senate has consistently favored a smaller bill, ranging from $500 billion to $1 trillion. Most recently, the House introduced a revised bill valued at about $2.2 trillion. The White House, represented by Steven Mnuchin, along with the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, have resumed negotiations over the shape of the package.
While both sides claim to support such a package, they disagree not only on the amount, but also on the targets for this funding. Democrats favor a combination of direct payments to Americans, extended unemployment insurance, and aid to hospitals, schools, small businesses, the Post Office, and state and local governments. Republicans oppose aid to state and local governments and favor more limited unemployment insurance benefits.
But what does the public think? We surveyed 20,315 respondents between September 4-27, 2020 on attitudes regarding the next COVID-19 relief bill. We asked respondents if they supported such a bill, as well as the types of relief they believed it should include. We also probed whether or not they had received the $300-$400 supplemental unemployment benefit authorized by President Trump’s executive order of August 5th.