2nd Stimulus Check Status?
Well over 150 million Americans have received the first round of stimulus checks to help them cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but with unemployment still at a staggering 13.3 percent (according to the most rosy projections), talks of a second round of stimulus checks have begun to ramp up among leaders in both political parties and the Trump Administration.
The timing of negotiations over an additional stimulus check is paramount because the House of Representatives is due to go into recess after July 31, while the Senate is due to do the same beginning August 8. Both chambers are then scheduled to be away the remainder of August. So, if there is going to be a second stimulus check, it will almost certainly be agreed to by the end of July.
Negotiations faltered and later Donald Trump said there wouldn't be a deal before the election and then later changed his mind. So the status of a 2nd stimulus check is still in question with Republicans main priority getting a new Supreme Court justice seated just before the election.
Democrats Proposal - House HEROES Act
The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which, among other things, includes a second stimulus check of $1,200 to $2,400 for most American individuals and families.
One major difference in the HEROES Act is that, unlike the first round of stimulus checks, all dependents, including full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents, up to a maximum of three, are eligible for $1,200 each. That means a family a family of five with an income of $150,000 or less could be eligible for up to $6,000.
The HEROES Act also includes an extension of the additional $600/week in unemployment benefits for the unemployed through January 31, 2021.
House Republicans universally voted against the bill, as did a number of moderate and vulnerable Democrats and Congressional Republicans along with President Trump declared the House bill "DOA. Dead on arrival."
Republicans Proposal - Senate HEALS Act
Senate Republicans dismissed the House HERO's Act outright, but did not immediately introduce competing legislation that shows where they stand. Two months after the House passed the HERO's Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a $1 trillion bill he is calling the HEALS Act.
Like the House HERO's Act the House passed, the proposed legislation includes an additional $1,200-$2,400 stimulus check for most Americans and leaves the income levels to receive a check intact. The additional $500 per dependent is included in the proposal, but this time there is no age cap, meaning parents with dependent children aged 17-24 would be able to claim the additional $500 per eligible dependent this time around.
Unlike the House HERO's Act, the Senate HEALS Act reduces the additional $600/week in unemployment benefits by more than half, to $200/week. That amount would be in place until the state an unemployed individual resides in is able to implement a new unemployment system that would provide up to 70% wage replacement for a laid off worker.
President Trump Proposals
Even though Senate Republicans haven't shown much interest in another round of stimulus checks, President Trump has appeared to be open to it, although he hasn't explicitly said so.
When asked during an interview with a local television station whether there will be another round of stimulus checks sent out to the American people he responded "[Y]eah, we are. We are. We will be doing another stimulus package. It'll be very good. It'll be very generous."
After the interviewer asked him how much Americans can expect to receive President Trump simply said "You'll find out about it. You'll find out."
Multiple members of the Administration almost immediately tamped down expectations by insisting a new round of stimulus checks are "part of something the economic team is studying," but insisted "no decisions made yet."
Other members of the Trump Administration have been cool towards the idea of another round of direct checks to the American people and instead wish to focus the stimulus efforts on propping up businesses and focusing on getting people back to work.
However, that can all change if the pandemic continues to spread in different parts of the country and forces areas that have begun to reopen to temporarily shut back down again.
Bipartisan Majority of Americans Support Additional Stimulus
When all is said and done, public pressure to pass another round of stimulus checks may be too great for Congress and the Administration to ignore.
Multiple polls have shown that, while there remains to be a partisan divide over how concerned people are about COVID-19, there is overwhelming bipartisan support for a second stimulus check to go out to most Americans.
Economic experts on both sides of the aisle have cautioned against another round of stimulus checks for most Americans and instead are urging Congress to have a more targeted approach that aims to help the most vulnerable Americans who need help the most.
Whatever way Congress decides to go, they will almost certainly be making a decision in the coming days and weeks before they adjourn for August recess and return to their home districts and states.
Other Economic Recovery Benefits