Business Report: Stimulus delay, unemployment deadline, Merck COVID-19 treatment

There's a halt on stimulus checks as President Trump wants to increase direct payments to Americans

Stimulus checks might not be coming next week after all, now that President Donald Trump found fault with the $900 billion stimulus package approved by Congress. The president wants to increase the direct payments to Americans from $600 to $2,000. He also says the bill includes wasteful and unnecessary items. The president didn’t specifically say he would veto it, and even if he does, there may be enough support in Congress to override a veto. The legislation is also tied to a measure funding the government, so without it, a federal government shutdown is possible on Dec. 29.

The holdup in Washington comes as another 17,600 New Jersey workers filed for new unemployment claims in the last week. Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said Wednesday that New Jersey’s unemployed workers are in dire need of additional economic assistance from Washington. A half million New Jerseyans will lose their federal unemployment benefits the day after Christmas.

Many state residents who normally work in New York are now working from home. But they are still paying income taxes to New York. New Jersey says that’s double taxation, and has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a case challenging the rights of states to tax nonresidents. The Murphy administration says keeping that tax money in New Jersey could provide up to $1.2 billion in annual revenue for the state.

Kenilworth-based Merck will provide up to 100,000 doses of its experimental treatment for COVID-19. Merck signed an agreement with the U.S. government to supply the doses through the first half of next year. Merck’s treatment is used for hospitalized patients who are severely ill. It still needs to win emergency use authorization from the FDA.

We’re in this together
For a better-informed future. Support our nonprofit newsroom.
Donate to NJ Spotlight