There’s more bad news for anyone banking on a second stimulus check — but also a possible light at the end of the tunnel.
A few weeks ago, a second stimulus check seemed all-but-certain, with details like amount, eligibility, and timetables agreed upon by members of Congress and the White House. But now, deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans over other details of a second stimulus relief package have placed the second stimulus check in jeopardy.
Now, with members of U.S. Congress on recess until September 8th, the earliest a second stimulus check could be delivered is October. “Even if a stimulus payment makes it into the final bill, lawmakers will only first reconvene to talk about it in September, which means by the time the details are sorted out, it could take until October at the earliest to get that money into the hands of those who need it,” Maurie Backman of the Motley Fool calculated.
That is, if there’s a second stimulus check at all.
While legislators have expressed wide support for a second stimulus check, it can only happen if legislation gets passed. And instead of coming closer together on their proposals, Democrats and Republicans are drifting further apart on their demands. Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have been demanding more than $3 billion in assistance as part of their HEROES Act. Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have backed a bill closer to $1 billion.
Neither side has seriously budged or indicated a middle-ground resolution. Democrats have refused to substantially trim their package, while Republicans have since proposed a ‘skinny’ relief package far below the $1 billion-mark. Even worse, that ‘skinny’ package doesn’t contain a provision for a second stimulus check.
There is some good news, however.
In that morass, President Trump has executed a number of emergency executive orders to push relief to millions of Americans. That includes a stopgap measure to extend financial unemployment insurance, which supplements state-based payouts. At last count, 32 states have been approved to receive the funds, with 3 — Arizona, Missouri, and Texas — already starting the distribution of funds.
On top of that, 11 additional states are in the middle of the application process. Only a few states have yet to submit applications, which means a large percentage of unemployed Americans can expect to receive federal supplements to their state unemployment checks. In most states, that supplement will be $300 a week, though a few states have added an additional $100 for a $400 total.
Unfortunately, Trump couldn’t initiate an executive order for a second stimulus check, given that budget matters must be approved by Congress.
Looking ahead, a slimmed-down second stimulus check may also be possible.
Earlier, Mitch McConnell proposed limiting second stimulus checks to those making less than $40,000 a year. That would ensure that Americans are able to meet basic needs like food and shelter, while keeping money in circulation (and stimulating the economy).
Earlier studies on the first stimulus check have shown that higher-income individuals frequently used their checks for non-essential purposes. That includes paying down debt, playing the stock market, or simply saving the cash. A separate study indicated that the checks helped to keep millions of lower-income individuals out of poverty, which bolsters the case for a sub-$40,000 eligibility requirement for second stimulus checks.
More as this develops.