Second Round of Stimulus Checks

    1. When is the second stimulus check coming?
    2.  How much is the check for?
    3. Did President Trump promise more money in the second stimulus check?

    These are three of the most important questions Americans are asking now.

    The answers in brief (the envelope please) are:

    1. You’ll get your money from the extremely popular, long-promised second stimulus check soon, Democrats and Republicans are saying. What they mean by soon is no sooner than fall. We’ll get to the bottom of it below.
    2. It’s a one-time check of at least $1,200, very possibly more.
    3. President Trump gave an interview on July 1 to Fox Business channel’s Blake Burman and promised more money for just about everyone.

    Remember, promising more money for everyone has been a great American political tradition for 244 years as of this July 4th.

    “I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly,” is what Trump told Fox Business, spawning headlines around the country trying to figure out what he meant.

    “I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it,” President Trump added. “I want the money to get there quickly and in a noncomplicated fashion.”

    Trump made his remarks while glowing over the record 4.8 million jobs created in June that lowered the unemployment rate to 11.1 percent. Trump, never at a loss to overstate things, said the unemployment numbers are a sign that “America’s economy is roaring back to life like nobody has ever seen before.”

    If the President is good for his word, and both House Democrats and Senate Republicans agree, “larger numbers than the Democrats” means the second stimulus check will be more than $1,200. How much larger nobody is saying.

    Here’s what the political tea leaves are showing:

    The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion coronavirus relief package in May, dubbed the HEROES Act (the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act). It includes another round of stimulus checks of up to $6,000 per household, structured similarly to the first round of stimulus payments.

    The Democratic bill calls for one-time $1,200 stimulus checks for individuals 18-and-over who made less than $75,000. Couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for $2,400.

    But unlike the first round, a maximum of three dependents, regardless of age, would also get $1,200. Adult dependents such as college students and immigrants with taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) were left out of the first round of stimulus checks.

    In the HEROES  Act, they would be eligible for a payments this time around, but only if the Senate passes some version of that bill. GOP senators are in no hurry to even consider the Democratic bill, calling it a big liberal “wish list.”

    Yet you can count on the fact that whatever new coronavirus relief package Congress finally passes will include at least a $1,200 second stimulus check. It’s a very popular number in Washington, and with the people far outside the Beltway.

    The extremely popular first stimulus check was $1,200. It was the featured item in the first shock $1.8 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act passed on March 27.

    That bill drew enormous bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats eager to help the millions of unemployed Americans suffering the worst pandemic of modern times. President Trump signed it into law and the feds shipped the first stimulus check of $1,200 to millions of American households on April 15.

    That’s when Americans immediately began asking the big three questions:

    • Will there be a second stimulus check?
    • How much will the check be?
    • When will I get it?

    And that’s when Republicans and Democrats began arguing over the relief package, creating delay and confusion about the mythical second stimulus check, that now appears certain to become a reality.

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    Will There Be a Second Round of Stimulus Checks?

    Yes, absolutely. You can take it to the bank – soon. There’s that word again.

    Polls show that Americans like the idea of a second stimulus check more than just about anything the pollsters ask us about. We love the idea almost as much as we love ice cream.

    WalletHub conducted poll in late April that showed 84% of Americans want a second wave of stimulus checks. CNBC/Change Research also polled people in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina. It was conducted the first week in May and 94% of respondents said it’s important that people who have lost jobs or wages receive relief. Another 74% of respondents support recurring direct payments to individuals until the pandemic ends.

    (A 2017 poll showed that 98 percent of Americans purchase ice cream, and a whopping 87 percent always have it in the freezer).

    Politicians like nothing more than pleasing 94% of the people, and are happy to please 74% percent of them, too.

    When Might There Be a Second Stimulus Check?

    Sometime this fall, after passage by Congress of the HEROES Act, or some watered-down version of it that both sides of the aisle can agree upon, in July. That’s the soonest it could happen.

    It is clear Congress will pass a second coronavirus relief bill with a second stimulus check. But how they’ll reach a consensus to actually pass the bill is anything but clear.

    Trump will push for passage and the checks in the mail before the November election to take credit for supporting Americans in their time of need.

    But there are stark divides among Republicans about whether to approve a second round of $1,200 payments.

    Asked by Fox Business if he supported “another round of direct payments for individuals,” Trump replied: “I do. I support it. But it has to be done properly.”

    By properly, he means addressing Republican concerns that the $600 bump in unemployed benefits implemented by the CARES Act gave many a disincentive to return to work.

    Democrats meanwhile are looking to extend the $600 bump beyond its scheduled expiration at the end of July. They’ll also fight to preserve many of the additional groups receiving a second stimulus check, such as undocumented immigrants, that Republicans might resist.

    Trump talked about providing a “back-to-work bonus.”

    “We want to create a very great incentive to work,” he said. “So, we’re working on that, and I’m sure we’ll all come together.”

    When they’ll come together is uncertain. The soonest is July. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said the second coronavirus relief bill with stimulus check could possibly be approved this month, before Congress leaves for its August recess.

    What Is America Saying about Stimulus Checks?

    If you listen to the pain expressed across the American landscape on the nightly news and in social media, it’s evident the need for a second stimulus check is real and dramatic.

    More than 130,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus in just four months, causing a wave of business closings, layoffs, and unemployment that devastated the economy and millions of households.

    The median age of COVID-19 victims in many states is over 80 years old. Children under 18 have little chance of getting the virus or being affected by it beyond something like a cold. But all the deaths in our families in just four months and the economic and emotional impact of a still-mysterious contagion with no known cure or standard treatment has caused widespread fear, depression, and anxiety about the future.

    The complete lockdown of so many businesses, schools, churches, and recreation events for the first time in U.S. history caused an historic economic downturn. More than 37 million people have been laid off. About 1.43 million workers filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday, June 25.

    That means more than 48 million Americans have made initial jobless benefits claims in just 15 week, but that was offset by good economic news Thursday: a one-month record 4.8 million jobs were added in June as the economy started to bounce back.

    But there was still widespread fear and uncertainty as businesses re-opened with confidence after three months of stay-at-home quarantine orders only to experience a record spread of the virus in Arizona, Florida, California, Texas and Nevada and many other states.

    The frightening headlines made it hard to appreciate the hidden good news that many of the new cases were young people who suffered no more than a cold..

    Still, the economy and countless households are struggling. “It feels like a steady bleed,” said Josh Bivens, director of research at the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Bivens said he hopes Congress will act to assure some money keeps flowing to the jobless as long as the virus looms.

    “If we get a scenario where there’s a shutdown again and the benefits get cut off, you’ve got a bunch of people who will be suffering terribly,” he said.

    Don’t spend it yet, but be assured Congress will cut that second stimulus check.

    Soon!

    Author

    Bill Fay
    Staff Writer

    Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at bfay@debt.org.

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