A few weeks ago, when White House advisers and Congressional leaders talked about a second stimulus package, they often steered away from the mention of a “ ” and instead brought up travel tax credits or payroll tax cuts as possible pieces of another proposal. Now that’s changing, with President Donald Trump and his advisers speaking to more money for individual Americans.
The fate of a second round of IRS payments seems to rest on two things: how badly the economy is faring and if lawmakers believe a direct payment to millions of people is the best way to respond to thecaused by the . The other question — and a pressing one for people — is simply: when?
Here’s what you need to know today:
- On Thursday, fresh numbers from the Labor Department revealed that first-time unemployment claims hit 1.5 million last week, making 14 straight weeks new claims have been over 1 million.
- President Donald Trump expressed optimism about a summer bailout package that includes another check. Responding to a reporter’s question on Monday about whether Washington will send a second round of direct payments to Americans, the president said, “It will be very good. It will be very generous.”
- This echoes a statement the president made last week. “I think we’re working on something that’s going to be very dramatic, very good,” Trump said about the checks.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he has discussed the idea of a second round of payments with the president, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- If Congress takes action on a second package, it will be in July. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly if Congress begins work on a second stimulus package, it will happen in July.
- It isn’t clear that .
Read on for what we know today and what it will take to get more stimulus money in your pocket. Here are theso far. This story updates frequently with new information. If you’re still waiting on the first round, you can , see some possible and learn .
Stimulus check timeline: When will a decision come?
Congress hasn’t set a date for a vote on a second stimulus package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he hasn’t wavered from his July projection.
“If there’s another [stimulus package], it will come together in July,” McConnell said Friday. “We need to take a look at how the economy is coming back and decide whether or not we’re going to do one last rescue package. And I predicted we’d make that decision in July and I’ll continue to say that today.” The second relief package could very well be the last, he has previously said.
White House officials also anticipate that the executive branch will work on its own proposal through July, The Wall Street Journal reported in early June. Before White House and Republican leaders begin negotiating the details of a new stimulus proposal, they want to evaluate how much money allocated to the and other aid for businesses has actually been spent, CNBC reported.
When the Senate, House and White House negotiators do begin negotiations, they’ll be under pressure to reach a deal quickly, as thefor an additional .
Do we still need a second stimulus check? The unemployment debate heats up
Is a second stimulus check necessary? That question is at the heart of this debate. Weekly jobless claims continue to show a US economy struggling to find its footing. For the week ending June 20, 1.48 million workers filed first-time jobless claims, making 14 straight weeks new claims were over 1 million, the Labor Department reported (PDF). Claims were down slightly from the 1.5 million of the week before.
A new study (PDF) by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University advanced that without the stimulus money, America’s poverty level could have spiked from 12.5% before the pandemic to 16.3% today.
The center predicted “if high unemployment rates persist beyond July 2020, additional income support will be needed” to keep poverty from soaring during the . The study also notes the categories of people who aren’t eligible to receive the funds authorized by the CARES Act and that some eligible families are facing roadblocks receiving their benefits. The keeping some afloat are set to .
On June 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported (PDF) that the US unemployment rate in May declined by 1.4% to 13.3%. Following the labor report, some in Washington asked if the US economy is already heading in the right direction without further government assistance.
“It takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of any Phase 4,” Stephen Moore, a White House adviser, said about the May job numbers and a second stimulus package, as quoted in The Washington Post. “We don’t need it now. There’s no reason to have a major spending bill. The sense of urgent crisis is very greatly dissipated by the report.”
Others in Washington caution against reading too much into one month’s unemployment numbers. A report from the OECD earlier in June says COVID-19 has “triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century.”
“There is good reason to be skeptical,” wrote former White House economic adviser Robert J. Shapiro, pointing to other numbers that suggest the jobless rate in May rose by 5.7% to 19%. Whatever the real May jobless numbers turn out to be, the US economy in February , ending an economic expansion that started in June 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported this month.
Even with a reduced May unemployment rate, the US still has one of the highest rates of out-of-work job-seekers in the world, according to the OECD report.
How much money a second stimulus check could bring
It’s too soon to pinpoint how much money individuals and families could receive. First, it depends on the size of the rescue package as a whole. This figure has already drawn fierce debate, with the House proposing $3 trillion, McConnell seeking a $1 trillion cap and the president suggesting at least $2 trillion in June, according to White House trade advisor Peter Navarro.
Then it depends how much of the package would be allocated for individuals and families. Remember that the CARES Act that passed in March also included money for small businesses and . For reference, the first stimulus check gave individuals who file for taxes jointly. Dependents under 17 years old netted another $500 apiece.
Here’s a snapshot of who’s eligible for the first check, based on how you file for taxes:
- Single US residents who have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000
- Heads of household who earn under $146,500
- Couples that file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000
Nonresident people who aren’t citizens (termed nonresident aliens) and people who are currently incarcerated did not qualify for the first stimulus check.
Is the IRS done sending the first wave of stimulus checks?
While it’s already made tens of millions of stimulus payments to eligible Americans, the IRS has more to go. As of June 3, the agency had made 120 million payments as direct deposit to bank accounts, 35 million as mailed checks and nearly 4 million as mailed prepaid debit cards, for 159 million payments total. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated (PDF) as many as 35 million Americans could still be owed a payment.
If you didn’t get your money yet,. If you’re worried you were supposed to receive your check and didn’t, .
What will it take to get a second stimulus check and what happens now?
For now, we wait for July, when Washington plans to begin work on the next stimulus package. To receive a second check, the proposed rescue package would need to pass both the House and the Senate before receiving a signature from the president. Only then could it take effect. After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks. But it could be weeks more before you receive a payment.
We’ll continue to update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’ll share available resources aboutand , , and and how to .