JULY 17, 2020
Next week, Washington lawmakers will finally return from recess and set the wheels in motion for another stimulus package, which is expected to include a second stimulus check. At least another round of payments will be part of the discussion, according to Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell.
We have a pretty good idea when we think Washington will decide but we don’t know for sure who could be eligible to receive a second stimulus check or if a new payment would be smaller or larger than the the first stimulus check. The original coronavirus stimulus act distributed up to $1,200 per person and was approved in March.
An extra direct payment this time around could be harder to qualify for, especially if the overall relief package is smaller than the previous one. But some Washington leaders, including President Donald Trump, have publicly called for a bigger stimulus check. The amount of money you might actually receive will hinge on the size of the total relief package and how Congress will divide those funds.
Should we expect a new payment if Congress passes a second stimulus package this summer?
Read on for the latest on what we’re hearing about a second stimulus payment.
A second stimulus check could be smaller
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on July 10 that a second stimulus check will be smaller than the first, Fox Business reported. That aligns with McConnell, who has indicated that the next stimulus package would have a $1 trillion cap.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made her disagreement clear.
“A trillion dollars is, OK, that’s an interesting starting point, but it doesn’t come anywhere near,” Pelosi said July 9. “We need $1 trillion for state and local [assistance]. We need another $1 trillion for unemployment insurance and direct payments. We need something like that, but probably not as much, for the [coronavirus] testing, tracing, treatment,” she said. “What doesn’t measure up is, ‘Oh, it can only be a trillion dollars.'”
The final figure is anything but decided and the tides could turn. For the last two months, proposals have surfaced over how big a second stimulus check should be, ranging from a single $1,200 payment up to $2,000 a month through the end of the pandemic.
How much money could a second stimulus check get you?
Washington leaders are talking about these possible stimulus figures for individuals:
- Nothing. Congress could focus its stimulus efforts on tax breaks for businesses as a way to boost US job numbers.
- Less than $1,200. Suggested by Kudlow, the White House economic advisor, on July 10.
- A $1,200 maximum single payment for individuals. Proposed by the Heroes Act passed by the House of Representatives. (This is not law. More below.)
- More money for individuals than the Heroes Act proposes, as referenced by Trump on July 1.
- $2,000 a month “Emergency Money” payment until the economy recovers. Proposed by a collection of more than 150 economists from policy institutes and universities.
- A $2,000 monthly payment through the end of the pandemic and for three months after. Proposed by Sen. Kamala Harris.
- $2,000 a month for up to 12 months. Proposed by Rep. Ro Khanna.
- A $4,000 temporary travel tax credit (PDF). Proposed by the US Travel Association, after Trump embraced the idea in May. Sen. Martha McSally took the idea further and proposed a bill (PDF) that would give couples an $8,000 tax credit to cover travel expenses plus $500 for each qualifying child.
- A payroll tax cut, proposed by Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials, that would allow workers to keep more of their paychecks. The president has insisted a payroll tax must be part of the second rescue package, according to The Washington Post.
As with the first stimulus check, it’s almost certain that Congress will include eligibility restrictions based on how much money you make annually, your age, the number of dependents you have and your US citizenship or residency status.
What do Trump and his administration say about a second stimulus check?
The president has, over the past few weeks, come out as a firm advocate of a second round of direct payment to Americans.
“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats,” Trump said July 1, referring to the $1,200-per-person amount the Democrat-led House proposed in May. The Washington Post reported in June that the president has told aides he is largely supportive of sending a second round of checks to Americans.
Kudlow echoed the president’s support, telling Fox Business last week, “Direct checks are probably going to be part of it, as far as the president is concerned right now.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also expressed support, telling reporters at a White House briefing, “We’re going to serious[ly] consider whether we’re going to put more payments and direct payments over. It worked very well.”
The Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell made the case for more stimulus money in prepared remarks before the House committee on Financial Services on June 30. “A full [economic] recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities,” Powell said. “The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed.”
The Senate’s view: A smaller second stimulus check
“I’ll be unveiling something, which will be a starting place, in a few weeks,” McConnell said July 6 about a new stimulus package. And a new payment for individuals and families “could well be part of it,” he added. We picked through the Senate calendar to get a good idea of its timeline.
And while the Senate has not offered many specifics on what it will include in its proposal, McConnell has been clear what it won’t offer.
“I can’t tell you what the amount is likely to be at this point, but it won’t be $3 trillion,” McConnell said late last month. He also proposed setting a $40,000 income ceiling to qualify for a check. “I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry,” he said.
Here’s what we know about who might qualify for a second check.
McConnell had previously stressed that the focus of another bill will be narrow and, if approved, will be the last. Republican senators are focused on including incentives to bring people back to work.
A $1,200 one-time payment from the House’s Heroes Act?
The House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not passed the Senate and is not law, seeks larger payments for more family members, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). McConnell has already dismissed the bill, as has the president, who has called it DOA. Here are the broad outlines of the House coronavirus bill:
- Individuals: An eligible person could receive up to $1,200.
- Children and dependents: Each dependent could qualify for a $1,200 payment.
- Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece.
- People who aren’t US citizens: Noncitizens who file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.
The bill would also extend many federal benefits set to expire this month.
Second stimulus check: What comes next?
The Senate returns to Washington on Monday, July 20, when it will pick up the topic of the next rescue bill and check. The Senate will have three weeks until Aug. 7 to pass another stimulus bill before a month-long recess.
If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay and what you can do if you think your payment is lost or has fallen through the cracks.