Coronavirus stimulus checks: What’s stopping a second round of payments?
Over 160 million Americans received a stimulus check under the CARES Act enacted in March, totaling $270 billion in government. And while there’s universal agreement in Washington, D.C. that a second round should go out, the negotiations to make that happen have stalled.
Democrats, Republicans, and the White House have all expressed support for a second round. The Democratic stimulus proposal — passed by the House in May but not taken up by the Senate — along with the Republicans’ plan — proposed in late July but never voted on by the Senate — both outline similar ideas of what a next round would look like. President Donald Trump also voiced his support for more checks in August.
Here’s what each party suggests and the status of negotiations.
The Republicans support it
Bonus per dependent: $500
The Republicans’ HEALS Act suggests sending a second wave of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 to many Americans, plus an additional $500 for any dependent.
While the amounts are identical to the first round of checks, what’s different is the additional $500 is for any dependent — a key departure from the first round. In the first wave of payments, parents of child dependents under 17 were the only ones who got the extra $500. Under the Republican plan, parents of older high schoolers and college students claimed as dependents would get the bonus, as well as those taking care of elderly loved ones who are dependents.
Like the first round, single adults with income up to $75,000 would be eligible for the full check, while reduced checks would be available for single adults who earned between $75,001 and $99,000. Married couples with a combined income up to $150,000 would get $2,400, while those earning between $150,001 and $198,000 would receive reduced checks. That’s also the same as the first round.
The Democrats support it
Bonus per dependent: $1,200
The Democratic plan proposes that taxpayers would receive $1,200 per individual and an extra $1,200 per dependent for any dependent claimed on their tax return, with a maximum amount of $6,000 per household.
The Democratic plan has the same income eligibility requirements as the CARES Act and as the Republicans’ proposal.
Unlike the Republican plan, the Democrats’ proposal would send payments to Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers and their families. The change would mean that more than 4.3 million adults and 3.5 million children would be eligible for the payment, according to ITEP.
The White House supports it
Bonus per dependent:$500
In mid-August, the president once again expressed his support for a second round of checks.
He tweeted that he had directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, “to get ready to send direct payments ($3,400 for [a] family of four) to all Americans.” The tweet added that Democrats are holding up the stimulus payments, though there are several disagreements between the parties unrelated to stimulus checks.
The president’s suggestion of $3,400 for a family of four implies that the economic payments would be similar to the first round, which involved eligible Americans receiving $1,200 each and an additional $500 per dependent.
However, Trump’s tweet expanded the proposed payment to “all Americans.” In the first round, single adults with income up to $75,000 were eligible for the full check, while reduced checks were available for single adults making between $75,001 and $99,000. Roughly 160 million Americans received stimulus checks in the first round of payments. Trump’s proposal would roughly double that number.
What's holding up the second round?
While Democrats, Republicans, and the White House have similar ideas on the second round of stimulus checks, they’ve been unable to reach an agreement on the overall stimulus bill, of which checks would be one component.
The disagreements between the two parties revolve around the overall funding for the bill. The Democrats’ HEROES Act is worth over $3 trillion while the GOP’s main proposal is worth $1 trillion. Other stimulus provisions — such as liability protection for business and schools, additional unemployment benefits that expired at the end of July, and a federal eviction moratorium that expired in July — are being debated.
While the president addressed some of those issues in his executive orders he issued in August, stimulus checks weren’t included because the president can’t legally include this popular relief aid in his executive orders.
Congress is currently in recess, but negotiations are expected to resume after Labor Day.
Denitsa is a reporter for Yahoo Finance and Cashay. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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