On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed that the Trump administration is “very seriously considering” another round of direct relief payments to qualifying Americans in light of the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Republicans and Democrats have yet to reach an agreement on what should be contained in that stimulus package.
The only legislative proposal on the table that would give Americans a second round of stimulus checks comes in the form of the HEROES Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives last month. Democrats are urging the Senate to approve their bill quickly, but Senate Republicans have dismissed it as “dead on arrival”.
Negotiations over a finalized version of the bill could take a while.
And those awaiting more financial help from the government should be prepared to wait even longer.
Second Round Relief Check: Timeline
The Republican-controlled Senate takes a recess for two weeks on July 4. They are not slated to return until late July.
AS.com writes, “That means if a new bill is to be approved it won’t be until late July because if no decision is reached the senators have to be back in Washington for three weeks before traditional August recess, which this year starts on 8 August, according to the draft calendar.”
The outlet continues, “If we get close to the August recess with no advance on proposals for a second stimulus check, it can be taken as read that the matter will be shelved until after the summer recess.”
Whether or not a second round of payments is included in the next stimulus package will be largely dependent on the economy.
Last Friday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said that recent job reports “underscores why Congress should take a thoughtful approach and not rush to pass expensive legislation paid for with more debt before gaining a better understanding of the economic condition of the country,” according to Politico.
Mnuchin echoed those sentiments, with CNBC quoting him a saying, “We don’t want to rush into that because we want to be both careful at this point in seeing how the money is in the economy…”
What Is Included In the HEROES Act?
The HEROES Act would include an additional $1,200 each for up to three dependents — not just dependent children — as opposed to the $500 per child issued under the CARES Act. It would also include $200 billion in hazard pay, which would go to essential workers, like police officers, firefighters, social workers, and postal workers.
The HEROES Act also proposes extending unemployment benefits already set into effect by the CARES Act through January 31, 2021.
The HEROES Act would need to be passed by both the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump in order to become law. However, it’s extremely unlikely the bill would pass as it stands.
CNET writes that it’s possible that the HEROES Act could morph into a different aid package, but only through bipartisan negotiation.
AS.com adds that if a new bill is approved at the end of July, a number of Republicans have discussed keeping the total cost of the package under $1 trillion. That would likely mean sending less than $1,200 relief checks to qualifying Americans.
This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.