WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 12: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House … [+]
Both houses of Congress left for their August recess without a signed stimulus deal. While there are several major sticking points keeping a deal off the table, there is one aspect all parties and the Trump administration agree on—sending Americans another stimulus check.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as getting everyone together to say, “We agree on this single measure, let’s pass a stimulus check bill, then negotiate each additional line item we want.”
The next coronavirus relief bill may be the final one this year, and both parties and the Trump administration all have additional items on their agenda they wish to include.
Let’s take a look at why a stimulus check is still on the table and why we may see one in the near future. We’ll also address the issues that are holding things up.
Both Parties Have Other Line Items They Want to be Passed
President Trump recently signed four presidential directives (an executive order and three memoranda) to address issues such as extending unemployment benefits, an eviction moratorium, student loan deferrals, and a payroll tax cut.
But experts are unsure if or when these measures will take place and how much impact they will have. Including these measures in a larger bill would provide a more sustainable solution for these and other line items.
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Everyone Wants Another Check
By everyone, I mean, the politicians and their constituents. Both parties and the Trump administration are in favor of sending another check, and most voters would surely appreciate some financial assistance.
It’s an Election Year
Much more is at stake than deciding the next president. Voters will also be voting in new Congressional representatives for both the Senate and the House. There is a potential for a changing of the guards, so to speak, and the incumbents want your vote.
Supporting and passing a relief bill that directly impacts their constituents’ pocketbooks can go a long way toward garnering votes.
Both Parties Have Agreed to Rough Terms of The Next Check
After some back and forth, both parties have also more or less agreed upon the parameters of a second stimulus check.
The Democrat-led House proposed the HEROES Act in May, which included a $1,200 stimulus check that was similar to the first stimulus check that was included in the CARES Act. There were two primary differences. The HEROES Act offered $1,200 checks for up to three dependents instead of the $500 that was included in the CARES Act. It also expanded eligibility for certain groups who were excluded from the stimulus check in the CARES Act. However, the HEROES Act was a $3 trillion stimulus bill that was too expensive for the Senate to get behind.
The Republican-led Senate initially wanted smaller stimulus checks than what was included in the CARES Act. However, they have since come around. They proposed the HEALS Act, which included a $1,200 stimulus check with eligibility terms that were very similar to those found in the HEROES Act. The primary difference was that it provided $500 checks for dependents.
And while President Trump doesn’t craft the laws, he can sign them into law. He has previously gone on record as saying that not only does he support a second stimulus check, but that he wanted a more generous stimulus check than the first one.
With so much common ground, and so much at stake, it seems likely we will see another stimulus check.
How Much Could You Receive from a Second Stimulus Check?
We don’t have firm numbers right now, but we can look at recent proposals to get a ballpark idea.
The proposals that have gotten the furthest in both chambers of Congress are the HEROES Act and the HEALS Act, both of which call for a $1,200 check for individuals. The primary difference has been how much to provide dependents, with the HEROES Act calling for a similar $1,200 amount and the HEALS Act calling for $500.
Both proposals would extend eligibility to qualified dependents of all ages.
While Here are some calculators to let you run some scenarios.
Again, these are estimates, as the final bill has not been agreed upon of passed.
What is Preventing the Next Stimulus Bill from Being Passed?
There are several big roadblocks slowing negotiations. The three largest are the total cost of the bill, extended unemployment benefits, and additional funding for state and local governments.
In general, the Democrats are looking for a more extensive bill than the Republicans. The HEROES Act, which passed the House in May, was a $3 trillion proposal that Senate Republicans rejected outright as being too expensive. The Republican-led Senate proposed a $1 trillion HEALS Act, which amounts to the upper end of their desired spending.
The Democrats want to extend the $600 federal weekly unemployment benefit that expired at the end of July. Republicans are in favor of extending the benefit, but only at a lower rate. They argue that too many people are making more money through unemployment than they made while they were employed.
Democrats also want to provide up to $1 trillion for state and local governments. These funds are designed to help offset decreased tax income and help to prevent massive layoffs of public sector employees. Republicans have argued they do not wish to bail out agencies that had already mismanaged their funds prior to the pandemic.
Here are some upcoming dates to keep in mind as we approach the next voting sessions.
- September 8: Senate returns to session.
- September 14: House of Representatives returns to session.
- September 30: Fiscal Year concludes.
It is unlikely we will see any bill passed prior to either chamber returning to session. This would require these lawmakers to be called back to Washington D.C. to vote. It is more likely we will get more firm news in the early part of September.