Will There Be a Third Stimulus Check?
How soon Joe Biden delivers on his promise of a third stimulus check is one of many significant issues being debated in Washington as the President-elect prepares for his inauguration Jan. 20.
It would not be a surprise if a bill for a third stimulus check – possibly for as much as $2,000! – is on President Biden’s desk a day after inauguration. He would welcome it.
“In order to keep the economy from collapsing, getting much worse, we should be investing significant amounts of money right now,” Biden said.
And it appears that he plans to start with another round of direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000.
Biden promised that if Georgia elected Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate, he would call for another stimulus check and “… money will go out the door immediately.”
The door is open. Warnock and Ossoff won closely-contested races. And prominent members of Congress want to get the third stimulus check “out the door.”
“Promises must be kept,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted. “That means not only the $2,000 direct payment but an aggressive agenda that recognizes the economic desperation facing so many Americans.”
Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who will become the Senate Majority Leader when Warnock and Ossoff are seated, said: “One of the first things I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to American families,”
Schumer will become the Majority Leader even though the Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Vice president-elect Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote should it be needed in case of a tie.
How Much Would a Third Stimulus Check Be?
The big issue to be decided about the third stimulus check is whether it will be for $2,000 or be reduced to $1,400 and supplement the $600 check that went out the final week in December 2020.
Congressional Democrats will push hard for the full $2,000 to go to individuals with a gross adjusted income (GAI) of under $75,000 and married couples with a GAI under $150,000.
Republicans, many of whom were opposed to the $600 second stimulus check, will object strongly to no effect. They lost their majority in the Senate and with that, the power to stop legislation.
That leaves it to Biden and it’s still up in the air exactly what amount he wants on the third stimulus check. He is on the record for backing a $2,000 check including a tweet from Jan. 10, but hasn’t stated specifically whether he meant one for $1,400 to go in tandem with the $600 payment that just went out, or a check by itself for $2,000.
$600 is simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table.
We need $2,000 stimulus checks.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 11, 2021
Either way, it obviously is a top priority.
“Think about what it will mean to your lives,” Biden said of the third stimulus check. “Putting food on the table, paying rent, paying off your mortgage, paying down credit cards and phone bills, gas bills, electric bills … this will send a powerful message to the nation.”
What Are the Chances of a Third Stimulus Check?
It is a certainty that a third stimulus check is coming because Democrats have majority control the House of Representatives, Senate and Presidency for the first time since 2008.
House and Senate Democrats were not happy with the $600 direct payment that was part of the most recent stimulus package, but were stymied because Republicans controlled the Senate.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) successfully pushed a bill through the House of Representatives to make that check worth $2,000, but it couldn’t even get a vote in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) used his leverage to block attempts to vote on the bill, but he can’t do that now that his party has lost control.
When Might a Third Stimulus Check Happen?
It will not be a surprise if President-elect Biden talks about a third stimulus check during his inauguration speech Jan. 20 and a day later, a vote on it is taking place in the House, the Senate or both.
The Democrats, who have spoken out loudly in favor of $2,000 stimulus checks since May of 2020, get a chance to make it happen with little or no discussion.
Still to be decided is how quickly the IRS can get the check out. The agency is under a lot of pressure, having to get the second stimulus check out before Jan. 15 and then turn its attention to dealing with the deluge of income tax returns it sees between now and the April 15 deadline.
What If I Didn’t Get My Second Stimulus Check?
A lot of people still are waiting for the $600 second stimulus check, either because it’s coming through the mail, or because the IRS has incorrect account information for direct deposits.
The wrong account information generally points to people who set up temporary bank accounts when they used services like H&R Block, TurboTax or Jackson Hewitt to prepare returns last year.
The COVID-19 Relief Act passed in December specified that payments must be made by Jan. 15. If you don’t receive a payment, you can claim it as part of your 2020 tax return.
To see the status of your check, go to Get My Payment on the IRS website. The status of checks is updated daily.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.