Many people are still hoping they will get a second COVID-19 stimulus check from the U.S. government. Although this remains far from certain because negotiations are still deadlocked in Congress – and have been for months – several amounts are on the table. There are proposals to give you $1,200 or $4,000 one-time payments and a proposal for $2,000 a month. Which is the most likely?
Don’t get your hopes up for the bigger check. Both sides have indicated that they support stimulus checks modeled after the amounts given out during the first round. That means you would see another $1,200 or $3,400 for a family of four if you meet income guidelines. However, proposals on both sides of the political aisle would give you money for more dependents to fix the problem that many college student dependents were left out completely last time. That’s how you get to $3,400 — $500 for each dependent on top of the $1,200 per adult. Democrats proposed an even higher amount per dependent, but their proposal is unlikely to emerge intact from the Republican-led Senate.
In fact, when the Senate Majority Leader unveiled a “skinny bill” of targeted relief on September 8, it didn’t include stimulus checks at all. Thus, despite repeated verbal agreement that a second check would be a good thing, it appears less likely now. In fact, Democrats and Republicans are clashing verbally over the skinny bill.
The $4,000 figure comes from a group of Republicans who proposed it as a compromise and said they are trying to put the focus more on families; that’s because, under their plan, a family of four would get a one-time payment of $4,000 — $1,000 per person — instead of $3,400 as in the other plans being considered. The $2,000-per-month figure was proposed by a group of Democrats. Because one of them is Joe Biden‘s vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris, it seems unlikely that Republicans in the Senate would want to give her that victory. With their stated concerns about spending, that plan seems the least likely to make it through the Senate, especially because it would grant Americans the $2,000 checks every month until three months after the pandemic ends and retroactively back to March.
President Donald Trump has continued to rhetorically support a second round of checks. With the presidential election looming, it’s also possible that Democrats in Congress would not want to give him the perceived victory of getting one through. The problem in Congress isn’t stimulus checks, per se; that’s the part both sides say they agree on. The problem is the overall price tag of the package. On that, they remain about $1 trillion apart.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Says There’s a $300 Billion Fund That Could Be Tapped Into & the White House Chief of Staff Has Made Optimistic Statements Lately
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has sounded optimistic this September that a second stimulus relief package still might get done. He said there is a “groundswell of support among rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans,” according to Bloomberg. The site added that Meadows said the new hurdle is getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on how much aid to grant to state and local governments due to COVID-19. He said that negotiations are ongoing, and they could pick up now that Labor Day has passed.
There’s also a proposal for a “skinny” bill to get some aspects of the relief package done — perhaps stimulus checks — while saving the thornier parts for later.
However, it’s not all coming up roses; both sides are still taking rhetorical punches at each other.
“The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “Let’s do a more targeted bill now — and if we need to do more in 30 days, we’ll continue to do more. But let’s not hold up the American workers and American businesses that need more support.”
However, both sides are still stuck in a war of words. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi focused on the administration’s response to the virus, telling MSNBC on September 6: “We’re not doing anything. Now, could we have saved all of those people? Not all, but many. The number of people who have been infected has grown by the millions.”
In an effort to break the log jam, Trump has continued to insist there’s money sitting around that could be used for a second round of stimulus checks. According to Fox Business, Trump recently urged Congress “to approve a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks” by using $300 billion in “unused coronavirus relief funds.”
Trump can’t do this on his own because the U.S. Constitution grants funding authority to Congress, so he can only apply political pressure to get it done, Fox Business reported. He did use executive order authority to implement some pieces of the second stimulus relief package, but not stimulus checks.
“We have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use. I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money and it would go right to the American people,” Trump said Friday during a White House press briefing, Fox Business reported.
It has been 111 days since the House passed the #HeroesAct, and still Republicans in the Senate remain determined to block this plan to help America’s working families. Enough is enough. The Senate must put #FamiliesFirst and finally pass the Heroes Act. pic.twitter.com/VVQgGG4c0w
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 3, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence has also indicated the administration wants a second round of checks.
Pence said on CNBC on September 4, “Nobody wants to give direct payments to American families more than President Donald Trump. We sent those checks to American families. It helped people through this tough time.”
Which Amounts Have Been Proposed?
The Democrats’ HEROES Act, which passed in May, would give people $1,200 checks like last time.
However, in some ways, the Democratic version is more expansive than the first round. It would give people $1,200, not $500, for dependents, but cap it at three children, Intelligencer wrote.
The Republicans countered with the HEALS Act, which also gives people $1,200 checks, plus $500 for dependents. But more dependents would qualify because that part isn’t limited by age like it was in the CARES Act.
Thus, a family of four would receive $3,400 instead of $2,900, according to Kiplinger.com.
In July, a group of Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, proposed the compromise plan that would give people $1,000 checks and a total of $4,000 for a family of four. Thus, that plan would reward families with additional money, but single people would receive less than last time.
U.S. Senator and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris has her own plan with Senators Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey. The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act would give Americans $2,000 checks every month until three months after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions to struggle to pay the bills or feed their families,” said Senator Harris in a press release. “The CARES Act gave Americans an important one-time payment, but it’s clear that wasn’t nearly enough to meet the needs of this historic crisis. Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government. The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act will ensure families have the resources they need to make ends meet. I am eager to continue working with Senators Sanders and Markey as we push to pass this bill immediately.”