Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently suggested that the rumored second stimulus check may be made available only to Americans earning less than $40,000 per year.
The 78-year-old lawmaker touched on the subject of a second stimulus check in an interview with reporters, saying: “I think the people who have been hit the hardest [by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fallout] are people who make about $40,000 a year or less.”
For reference, approximately 10 percent of American households earn under $15,000 per year, while 18 percent of U.S. households earn between $15,000 and $34,999. An additional 12 percent of households earn between $35,000 and $49,999 annually, and the Census Bureau indicates that the median personal income is a little over $31,000. Assuming that a sub-$40,000 salary is the sole benchmark used to determine eligibility for a second stimulus check (though there will almost certainly be additional stipulations and requirements), somewhere around half of America’s adult population would qualify.
In May, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed the controversial HEROES Act, which called for every American to receive a second $1,200 stimulus check, as well as earmarking an array of other contentious expenditures. Opposition to the legislation (from most Republicans and some Democrats) prompted Senator McConnell to declare it “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
Nevertheless, the Senate leader’s openness to a second stimulus check represents a major step towards reaching a bipartisan congressional agreement on an additional coronavirus relief package. President Trump, for his part, has voiced support for a second, larger stimulus check (an exact amount hasn’t yet been specified, however).
Currently on a two-week-long Fourth of July recess, the Senate won’t reconvene in Washington until Monday, July 20th, at which point discussions pertaining to new aid legislation will likely begin in earnest. Senator McConnell also mentioned education (and specifically helping children safely return to school), liability protection for businesses, job assistance, and healthcare aid when describing his vision for “a theme of a potential next rescue package.”
Yesterday, we reported on a Columbia University study that attempted to identify the fiscal consequences of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act on individuals and the poverty level. Essentially, the analysis determined that the package’s unemployment bonuses and stimulus payments prevented millions of Americans from falling beneath the poverty line.
A second stimulus check targeted at lower-income individuals will presumably have a similar (and possibly more pronounced) impact, but the precise effects will depend upon the payment’s amount, eligibility requirements, and accessibility.
More as this develops.