A second stimulus check could be just one tweet away.
Then again, it could easily die one tweet from now as President Donald Trump nimbly demonstrated in a confusing series of social media posts.
Trump’s first tweet on more economic relief for COVID-19 had a “game over” feel. It said: “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”
A few hours later, the president reversed course and it was “game on!” He tweeted: “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?”
Nancy would be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has represented Democrats in negotiations for another economic relief package since July. She didn’t know what to make of Trump’s tweets.
“It’s hard to see any clear, sane path in anything he’s doing,” Pelosi said on a morning talk show. “All he has ever wanted in the negotiation was to send out a check with his name printed on it.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has represented Republicans three months of talks, seemed completely out of touch with his boss.
“The stimulus negotiations are off,” Meadows said after Trump’s second tweet.
Mnuchin did make a call to Pelosi asking about a stand-alone bill, which Trump and the Republicans have tried before, but were rebuffed by Pelosi. The House Speaker rebuffed them again.
So, the bottom line is there is still a chance that taxpayers making under $75,000 will receive a second stimulus check, just not much of a chance. Three major issues seem to have precedence over another round of COVID-19 financial relief:
- Trump hasn’t fully recovered after coming down with the coronavirus disease a week ago.
- The Senate is trying to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett
- The election is scheduled for Nov. 3.
Latest Updates on a Stimulus Relief Bill
The House of Representatives passed a bill Oct. 1 that trims about one-third of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act they passed on May 15.
The bill, dubbed Heroes 2.0, comes in at $2.2 trillion and could be considered a scaled-down version of the original HEROES Act. It has funding for popular features like the $1,200 stimulus check; the $600 supplemental benefit for the unemployed; money to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction; additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program; and money for cities, states, schools and childcare.
Republicans responded by upping their version of a relief bill by $100 billion ($1.6 trillion total), but many Republican senators aren’t interested in any more relief help, regardless of the cost.
Trump’s tweeted response: “Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request and looking to the future of our Country.”
When Will They Vote on the Second Stimulus Check?
The House passed their updated version of the HEROES Act on Oct. 1, but it’s not even going to get a look from the Senate, which is tied up with confirming Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court Justice.
Even if the Barrett hearings go quickly, most of Congress will rush home to finish campaigning before the Nov. 3 election.
The only real hope that there would be a vote is if Pelosi agrees to a “stand alone bill” on a specific issue like another stimulus check or relief for airlines or improved unemployment benefits. She has repeatedly emphasized that she wants a total package, not a piecemeal approach.
At least 20 Republican senators do not like the idea of a second stimulus check or anymore coronavirus relief help and probably will stand in the way of any future attempts to make it happen.
How Much Is the Second Stimulus Check?
If it’s ever approved, the second stimulus check will mirror the first stimulus check, which was $1,200 for single filers and $2,400 for married couples. That is based on incomes of $75,000 (or less) for individuals and $150,000 (or less) for married couples. There is also a $500 payment for each dependent (up to three). Under the CARES Act, eligible dependents had to be age 17 or younger. Under the HEALS Act, there is no age requirement for dependents.
Who Qualifies for the Second Stimulus Check?
Here is another factor that may change dramatically for a final bill to get through both the House and Senate. Once again, both sides found the $75,000 income as an agreeable qualifying standard.
The people who really need to worry are those who earned between $75,001 and $99,000. Benefits for that group of people are a prime target for more financial compromise. They received “partial” stimulus checks in the original CARES Act, based on a formula that subtracted $50 for every $1,000 they made over $75,000.
For example, someone making $80,000 received a stimulus check of $950. Someone making $90,000 received $450. Someone making $95,000 received $200. People earning $100,000 got $0.
There would be some savings by eliminating that group from second stimulus check benefits, but not much.
When Will I Receive the Second Stimulus Check?
At the moment, you will not receive a second stimulus check. There have been enough negotiating sessions for a compromise COVID-19 relief bill to be reached … if the two sides were even close.
They are not. This likely won’t come up again after the Nov. 3 election. If you really think this is going to happen, better hope the election results go your way and maybe by February there will be enough members of Congress getting along to push a compromise bill through.
How Will the Second Stimulus Check Be Delivered?
If your bank account information is already on file with the IRS, it should be a seamless process. You will get a direct deposit expeditiously. Or the check will be in the mail within two weeks of the first payments going out.
It will take longer if you aren’t registered with the IRS. If you’re not at the front of the line, your payment might be sandwiched with other IRS materials, such as tax returns.
The IRS also offers a “Get My Payment’’ locator tool from the U.S. Postal Service. It will send you an image of the letter once it has been processed. You can follow it all the way to your mailbox.
Will There Be a Third Stimulus Check?
Let’s not go there. The fighting and negotiating and posturing and complaining over legislation that would include a second stimulus check probably has turned off enough politicians and voters that this may not happen again, regardless of who is elected.
McConnell has said this will be the “final’’ coronavirus relief package. “There definitely won’t be another one,’’ he said.
Let’s hope the nation and economy recover quickly enough from the current coronavirus problems to make that happen.