Coronavirus relief checks for a portion of the American people are being considered by Congress in the coming days. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has offered up a proposal for relief checks that’s been approved by the White House. His proposal for relief checks is part of a greater stimulus package, now estimated at $1.4 trillion, which also includes efforts to help businesses hurt by the pandemic as well. However, Democrats in Congress have indicated interest in offering up their own stimulus package, which could cause a delay in distribution of relief checks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requested that Congress vote on this bill no later than Monday, March 22. On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Democrats will be coming up with their own proposal for a relief bill, which could have entirely different stipulations regarding what relief checks would look like.
On Sunday, a day before McConnell said he wanted to see a vote on the package, Pelosi said, “We’ll be introducing our own bill.”
When asked how he felt about Pelosi’s statement, McConnell told reporters on Sunday, per The Hill, “What we intend to do here in the Senate is move forward with a Senate bill. I’m hopeful and optimistic we’ll get bipartisan support because this bill has been negotiated on a bipartisan basis here in the Senate. It would be best for the country if the House would take it up and pass it.”
On Sunday evening, after a day of conversations and negotiations between lawmakers, the Senate took a procedural vote on the Trump admin.-approved stimulus package. Senate Democrats blocked the vote from moving forward, which means that stimulus checks do not have a guaranteed issue date yet.
The information below is based largely off of the parts of the proposal for stimulus checks that have been provided to the press, as laid out by the Trump administration. Of course, this information is subject to change. NOTHING about the stimulus check proposal is finalized. Some people who don’t think they qualify might end up qualifying, and vice versa.
Here’s what you need to know:
When Would a Coronavirus Relief Check Come in the Mail?
Based off of Mnuchin’s proposal’s timeline, the first coronavirus relief check would be issued on April 6, at the earliest.
Of course, this timeline is subject to change, based off of how quickly Congress could vote to approve the bill. As for how the check will arrive to people’s homes (whether by U.S.P.S mail, FedEx, etc.), the government hasn’t clarified that yet. It’s safe to say that it would take a few business days, minimum, for people to start receiving their coronavirus relief checks.
If there is a second round of coronavirus relief checks approved, as is requested in the current proposal, those would likely be issued in Mid-May.
It’s not clear what the timeline is for the Democrats’ proposed stimulus package will be.
Coronavirus Relief Check Details: How Much Could You Expect to Receive?
According to the current proposal by the Trump administration, the checks would be “reduced for higher income taxpayers, and begin phasing out after a single taxpayer has $75,000 in adjusted gross income and $150,000 for joint filers.”
The check would be “completely phased-out for single taxpayers with incomes exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers. The IRS will base these amounts on the taxpayer’s 2018 tax return.”
On a granular level, the proposal explains how this phasing-out might work: “The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for every $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold.”
So for those who are imagining getting the full amount suggested ($1,200 for an adult), you would have to be making less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income as a single taxpayer, or less than $150,000 in a joint filing with your spouse. If you made more than that in 2018, then your check will be reduced — or it won’t come at all.
Since the stimulus checks are based off of 2018 tax returns, there’s a separate breakdown for those who have little or no income tax liability.
As long as those individuals have at least “$2,500 of qualifying income,” the proposal maintains they’d be eligible for some level of stimulus check, around $600 for single taxpayers and $1,200 for married taxpayers. Millionaires are completely excluded by this proposal.
Chuck Schumer on the Stimulus Package: ‘We Need a Bill That Puts Workers First, Not Corporations’
It’s not clear what the Democrats’ stimulus package will look like, in regards to how it will be similar to the current stimulus package proposal, and how it will be different. However, based off of what Democrats have said, it’s possible that the stimulus checks in their proposed package will be even larger.
Ahead of a meeting with top Republican and Democrat congressional leaders on Sunday, March 22, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the American people need “a bill that puts workers first, not corporations,” per NBC.
Other prominent Democrats, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have emphasized the need to pass a stimulus package immediately, and do more after that. In an op-ed for CNN, Warren wrote,
…this stimulus must be large enough to match the challenges that families and communities face. In 2008, the stimulus package was too small, too tilted towards ineffective tax cuts and too unwilling to make the structural changes needed to address serious damage to our economy. Once economists figured this out, Congress refused to pass another stimulus bill. The economic fallout was predictable: a sluggish recovery that left too many working families behind. Based on the latest projections of the likely economic harm of coronavirus, I have called for an immediate $750 billion stimulus — roughly 3.5% of GDP.
Next, the federal government should focus on recovery from the grassroots up, not Wall Street down. This means focusing on helping people directly, and, in doing so, addressing the gaping holes in our economy that leave families one lost paycheck away from defaulting on their mortgage, car, credit card or student loan payments.
This post will be edited to reflect information on the Democrat-proposed stimulus package when it becomes available.