While many Americans wait for updates on when their stimulus check is coming, others are already eager for news of another. Many lawmakers have stated publicly that they support the idea of a second Economic Impact Payment for Americans struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. Any move to get these checks out there, however, is in its early stages.
So far, the U.S. government has passed four relief bills to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The last of these was the CARES Act, which provided almost every American taxpayer with a one-time payment to offset the economic impact of the outbreak. However, before these payments were even issued, some politicians — including President Donald Trump — were acknowledging that it might not be enough to weather this long-term emergency. Now, some are beginning to work on the next steps.
Many politicians believe that another coronavirus response bill is needed, and many also believe that it should include another direct payment to the American people. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is now at a staggering 14.7 percent, according to a report by CNET, with over 33 million people filing first-time unemployment claims since the pandemic hit.
While some states are attempting to reopen public spaces, many health experts say that no safety measures can replace social distancing at this stage in the response to the virus. That means that Americans can not safely return to business as usual for a long time — perhaps until a vaccine is created and distributed. Some lawmakers feel that this means people will need financial support, with some even proposing regular payments every month or every quarter.
Some of these efforts are beginning to pick up steam in the U.S. Congress, but one of them would need to be passed there as well as in the Senate, then signed by Trump before any money got into the American peoples’ hands. Here is a status check on all the proposals for a “second stimulus check” currently in the works.
Emergency Money for the People Act
So far, the Emergency Money for the People Act may be the best-known effort to get a second stimulus check out there. Introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, the bill would grant a monthly stimulus check fo up to $2,000 to American taxpayers for at least six months, or through the end of the coronavirus pandemic. That money would be distributed along similar rules to the checks issued under the CARES Act, but with parts of the process streamlined after this recent experience.
The income threshold on these payments would be raised to $130,000 for single taxpayers, and would still grant the additional $500 per child for up to three children per family. It would also include dependents over the age of 17, meaning college students would be eligible this time around.
So far, 28 senators have cosponsored the Emergency Money for the People Act, so support is growing. However, it has a long way to go if it is to become law.
Getting America Back to Work Act
If Congress doesn’t act soon, more and more “temporary” layoffs will become permanent. Congress must take action now to get workers their jobs back – and power America into economic recovery https://t.co/xHeelTr6Iv
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 11, 2020
The Getting America Back to Work Act is the only coronavirus relief bill currently circulating that was written by a Republican politician. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is looking to offer economic aid not with a stimulus check, but with a payroll tax rebate that would cover up to 80 percent of an employer’s payroll costs.
This is the idea that President Donald Trump has voiced support for in the last few weeks, though other Republican senators have kept silent on it. The idea is to make it easy for employers to keep their workers employed through the crisis, so people are getting paid by more conventional means and the financial aid is handed out at a higher level. However, critics say this leaves room for employers to take advantage of workers, or to force them to come back to work before conditions are completely safe again.
Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act
Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts introduced a new coronavirus relief bill on Friday called the Monthly Crisis Support Act. The bill is similar to Khanna and Ryan’s proposal mentioned above, as it would provide a $2,000 check to many American taxpayers every month throughout the pandemic. One of the unique aspects of this bill is that it guarantees the payments will continue for at least three months after the outbreak ends, ensuring that Americans get a smooth transition back into working life.
This bill is also retroactive back to March, so right off the bat Americans would get a few months’ worth of payments to help them get out from under overdue bills. It has an income threshold of $120,000.
Automatic Boost to Communities Act
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but our people need *recurring* payments. A one-time check for some people and not others is NOT ENOUGH!
We mean everyone in America. pic.twitter.com/xhEYCpvPMW
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 16, 2020
Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington announced their Automatic Boost to Communities Act — or ABC Act — last month. Again, it proposed a $2,000 per month stimulus check to “every person in America during [the] COVID-19 crisis,” and continuing payments afterward. However, these payments would step down to $1,000 per month when the outbreak ends.
One of the distinctions of this bill is that it distributes the money via special BOOST debit cards. Tlaib also highlighted how this bill would avoid the exclusions and headaches of the last round of stimulus checks. She tweeted: “EVERYONE gets payments. Now is NOT the time to exclude our immigrant neighbors.”‘ Right now, the status of the ABC Act in congress is not clear.
Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Proposal
Notice the deficit isn’t an issue when Republicans are giving out trillions in tax giveaways to their rich Wall Street friends.
But keeping workers and our local communities afloat during a pandemic? Suddenly, they have a problem. https://t.co/xjJnZoGYpr
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) May 11, 2020
According to a report by Fox Business, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has yet another coronavirus relief proposal in the Senate that has not been named yet. This bill calls for $2,000 payments to the American people as well, but each quarter, not each month. This may be a revival of a similar bill Brown proposed in March, but so far it has not gained much traction.
Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act
Finally, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act — allowing rent and mortgage payments to be legally canceled for one year without any adverse effects on a person’s credit score. It would do so by creating a fund for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay landlords and mortgage holders throughout the crisis.
While many lawmakers are working on these various attempts to get another stimulus check to the American people, others have spoken out against the idea. According to a report by CNBC, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is opposed to passing another relief package right now, preferring to wait a while and see how the first round of payments impacts people.
On Sunday, three different White House officials went on three different news shows and gave similar comments in favor of caution. Economic adviser Larry Kudlow visited ABC News’ This Week, saying that talks about future relief are “informal.” His fellow Adviser Kevin Hassett went on CNN to suggest waiting and watching.
“We think we have a little moment, a luxury of the moment, to learn about what’s going on so that the next step that we take can be prudent,” Hassett said. “President Trump has signaled that while he doesn’t want to bail out the states, he’s willing to help cover some of the unexpected Covid expenses that have come their way.”
Finally, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was a guest on Fox News, where he said: “We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers’ money that we want to do it carefully. We’re willing to spend whatever it takes. But whatever it takes needs to be done carefully.”
Still, according to CNBC, House Democrats hope to come to an agreement on their next stimulus bill sometime this week, in the rush to get it out as quickly as possible. If so, those in opposition to the idea may have not get to choose passive or informal observations for long.