A second stimulus check – the financial gift from the U.S. government to help consumers recover from the economic belt coronavirus gave the American economy – needs only a signature from President Trump to become a welcome part of Christmas.
For now, Trump’s response is bah, humbug!
The president took a withering look at the key component – a $600 direct payment to consumers earning less than $75,000 per year – and deemed it ridiculously short of his expectations.
Trump called the proposed bill “a disgrace” in a video tweet where he also said: “I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple.”
He didn’t mention other parts of the $900 billion bill that include:
- $120 billion to fund a $300 weekly bonus payment for those collecting unemployment
- $325 billion in additional small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program
- $82 billion for school assistance
- $55 billion for vaccine distribution
- $45 billion for transportation projects
- $26 billion for food and agriculture assistance
- $25 billion in rent assistance
Trump did criticize several programs that were part of a separate $1.4 trillion spending bill used to fund the government. The spending bill was attached to the coronavirus relief bill, but the two are only slightly related.
So, as befits the history of this on-again, mostly off-again attempt to provide consumer relief, confusion reigns and consumers sit on their wallets waiting for the game to end and money to arrive.
The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill passed by the House and Senate on Monday, is back in a Congressional limbo. It will be poked and prodded by an interesting team of legislators trying to alter it enough to gain Trump’s favor.
On one side will be Democrats cheering Trump’s generosity. They are enthusiastically welcoming the president’s call for the second stimulus check to be even larger than the $1,200 sent out last spring.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted.: “At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 … Let’s do it!”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was all in on the idea, as well. “We spent months trying to secure $2,000 checks but Republicans blocked it. … Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again.”
On the other side are Republicans, many of whom opposed any kind of relief package and reluctantly agreed to the $900 billion bill that was a considerable mark down from the $3.5 trillion HEROES ACT passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representative last May.
Estimates say that pushing the direct payment from $600 to $2,000 would increase the price tag on the bill by $350 billion.
Will Trump Sign Second Stimulus Check Bill?
*Yes. He will put up a fuss an maybe stall it a few days, but in the end, he will sign the bill, or some slightly altered version before the end of the year.*
There is an asterisk at the start and finish of that paragraph because predicting what Donald Trump will do is guesswork. It’s like predicting the outcome of a football game. Everyone is an expert AFTER the fact. Seldom does anyone accurately assess things BEFORE the game. That’s why they play the game.
The problem here is that no one knows exactly what game Trump is playing.
- Is he trying to please Republicans? No. If so, he would have signed the bill, told everyone “Merry Christmas” and let party members head home without much explaining to do. Now? They’ve got a lot to answer for, much of which pit them against the president, which is not where Republicans want to be.
- Is he trying to please Democrats? Yes! They love the idea of putting $2,000 in consumer pockets. They’ll sign on for that today and be thrilled to get credit for pushing Trump and his party to a higher number.
- Is he trying to curry favor with Georgia voters? Probably. He might be hoping a big financial hit will convince voters in that state to overturn the election results when he lost on Nov. 3. It’s a total long shot to happen, but “long shot” is one of Trump’s many nicknames.
So, that’s a “no” a “yes” and a “probably” in trying to assess what game Trump is playing and how he hopes to win.
This is why it’s a bad idea to gamble on anything, but we’ll still gamble that he signs the bill sometime in the next seven days.
When Will the IRS Release the Second Stimulus Checks?
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin boldly predicted that qualified consumers would start seeing money in their accounts before the January 1st. That optimism vaporized a day later when Trump declined to sign the bill.
If the president does sign the bill and you are one of the people who gets IRS checks direct deposited in your bank account, take a look at your calendar, add two weeks to the day he signed, and pencil in the words “possible stimulus check arrival.”
It’s “possible” it will arrive that day, but it depends on a number of circumstances.
The IRS has experience at this (they sent out 153 million stimulus check when the CARES Act passed last spring), but it’s not an easy task to check the name, address and account number on every 2019 tax return and get the right amount on more than 150 million stimulus checks expected to go out.
Still, that’s the best-case scenario. If you receive your government checks via regular mail, the best case is probably a month or more after the bill is signed.
For Payments by Direct Deposit
If you already signed up to receive IRS payments via direct deposit, there is no need to go back and register again. You’re in the system and can expect to receive it that way again, as long as your banking information hasn’t changed.
The IRS website for tracking your check – Get My Payment – is temporarily offline. The IRS page says it is monitoring legislative active and will post updates and provide information to taxpayers when it becomes available.
For Payments by Mail
If you still conduct financial transactions via paper checks, you obviously are a patient consumer and you’re going to need that.
Again! It took a month for the first round of stimulus checks to get to mailboxes last May and approximately 20 weeks before the last batch went out. Even if they speed things up this time, you’re looking at anywhere from one to four months to get your second stimulus check.
Who Qualifies for the Second Stimulus Check?
Anyone with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 on their 2019 income tax returns would receive the full check, whether it’s $600, $2,000 or anywhere in between.
Couples who file joint tax returns and earn less than $150,000 would get double that amount. In this case, which would be $1,200-$4,000, depending on where Congress and President Trump meet.
In the current bill, there would be an additional $600 for each dependent child under 17. College and high school students over 17 won’t qualify.
People with incomes just above the $75,000 (individuals) and $150,000 (couples) thresholds would receive $5 less for every $100 of income. Individuals earning more than $87,000 or a couple earning in excess of $174,000, would receive nothing.
If you earned less money in 2020 than you did in 2019 and thus would be eligible for the stimulus check based on your 2020 earnings, you can claim the money when filing your 2020 tax return.
For more information, go to the Recovery Rebate Credit page on the IRS website.
What If I Should Have Gotten the First Stimulus Check, but Didn’t
The IRS has established a page called “Recovery Rebate Credit” for taxpayers who qualified for the first stimulus check, but didn’t receive it or only received part of what they should have.
If you believe you qualified, but didn’t receive the stimulus check go to this page on the IRS website and find out information on how to get it.
Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it in 2012, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering the high finance world of college and professional sports for major publications, including the Associated Press, New York Times and Sports Illustrated. His interest in sports has waned some, but he is as passionate as ever about not reaching for his wallet. Bill can be reached at [email protected].
- N.A. (ND) Get My Payment. Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
- N.A. (ND) Recovery Rebate Credit. Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/recovery-rebate-credit
- N.A. (ND) H.R. 133 DIVISION-BY-DIVISION SUMMARY OF COVID-19 RELIEF PROVISIONS. Retrieved from https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/Summary%20of%20H.R.%20133%20Coronavirus%20Relief%20Provisions.pdf