The U.S. government tried to soften the financial impact of the Coronavirus and associated lockdowns on Americans via direct cash payments that were part of the stimulus package signed into law in mid-March. Now, it appears quite likely that another round of stimulus checks could be in the offing, as economic conditions remain weak, with political leaders also hinting at another sizable stimulus package. Below, we detail the status of the first round of stimulus and why we believe another round of direct cash payments looks likely.
For a detailed breakdown of the components of the CARES Act signed in March 2020 view our analysis A Breakdown Of The $2 Trillion Coronavirus Fed Stimulus
Stimulus Payments Under CARES Act
A total of about $300 billion was earmarked for direct payments to workers, their families as well as senior citizens, as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package called the CARES Act, that was signed into law in March to ease the financial impact of the pandemic, boost unemployment benefits, and offer loan programs for businesses.  The payments amounted to $1,200 for individuals with annual incomes of under $75,000 and $2,400 for married couples, with income up to $150,000. Americans with earnings above these levels also receive a partial payment up to a certain income level. As of early June, the 159 million stimulus checks worth more than $267 billion were paid out, meaning that this round of stimulus is largely done. 
Slow Economic Recovery Makes Case For Another Round Of Checks
Covid-19 has caused the largest economic shock in the U.S. post the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Federal Reserve expects the economic recovery to take time noting that it sees interest rates staying near zero-levels through 2022 while projecting that the unemployment rate could stand at about 9.3% by the end of this year. This is up from 3.6% in January, although this is still well below the 14.7% rate seen in April. While the government enhanced unemployment payments under the CARES Act by $600 per week, this additional benefit is set to expire from the end of July, and it’s unlikely that it will be extended fully, considering that it might give people less incentive to get back to work. Instead, it’s possible that the government could come up with a package that helps Americans more broadly.
There are political differences at play as well. Democrats, who control the House of Representatives in Congress, want another round of direct stimulus along with an extension to the enhanced unemployment payouts, as part of their $3 trillion HEROES Act, which is a follow-on to the CARES act. However, the bill faces resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate. On the other hand, Republicans have been proponents of a payroll tax holiday, which would effectively increase workers’ paychecks. That said, President Donald Trump has indicated that the government would be doing another “generous” stimulus package, which could be bipartisan and this indicates that there is a reasonable chance of another round of stimulus checks.
The government’s first stimulus package helped the stock market rebound strongly despite tough economic data. View our analysis on how the Coronavirus Stock Market Compares To Previous Historic Market Crises for more details on how the current market compared to the Great Depression & Great Recession markets.