A second round of stimulus checks was expected to hit the bank accounts of millions of Americans next week, thanks to the $ 900 billion economic aid package that Congress passed Monday night. But President Donald Trump’s sudden insistence on Tuesday that lawmakers increase stimulus checks from $ 600 to $ 2,000 per person now puts the timing and amount of the checks in question.
The uproar comes after Congress added checks of $ 600 per person to the bill during last-minute negotiations, an amount deemed too low by some lawmakers, such as Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. , a Republican. Trump seemed to agree with the critics, saying in one video posted on Twitter on December 22 that he would not sign the economic aid package, calling the stimulus checks “ridiculously low”.
“I ask Congress to change this bill and raise the ridiculously low $ 600 dollars to $ 2,000, or $ 4,000 for a pair,” Mr. Trump said in the recorded message.
The $ 600 checks driven by the emergency would represent half of the $ 1,200 directed to most adults in the first round of stimulus checks. Critics had said the aid would be helpful, but not enough to bridge families who have suffered income or job losses since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the economy in March and caused unemployment to rise.
Nearly 6 in 10 consumers say they suffered a financial blow from the pandemic in late November, according to a recent study from TransUnion, which also found that 40% of those households had counted on the prospect of another stimulus check to encourage them. help pay their bills.
Mr Trump’s relapse raises new questions for millions of Americans waiting for the next round of controls.
How likely are $ 2,000 checks?
Democrats support Mr. Trump’s request for $ 2,000 checks – but it’s not clear how many Republicans will participate, as the proposal for larger payouts would cost an estimated $ 530 billion, or about $ 385 billion more than what Congress approved with the $ 600 checks, according to Heights Securities.
House Democrats said they did plan to offer an invoice for $ 2,000 stimulus checks this Thursday, and will try to pass it by unanimous consent as no one will be on the floor to vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted in support of the $ 2,000 checks Tuesday night, writing, “Let’s do it!”
She added that Republicans had “repeatedly refused to say what amount the president wanted for direct checks” during the lengthy negotiations.
Wall Street analysts say they think it is highly likely that the current bill – with $ 600 checks passed by a large two-part majority in both houses of Congress – will move forward.
“Our base case remains for the bill passed by Congress to become law,” Raymond James analyst Ed Mills said in a Dec. 22 research note.
What about the timing of the controls?
With Mr Trump’s relapse, it seems increasingly unlikely that stimulus checks will reach people’s bank accounts as early as next week, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin predicted on Dec. 21.
A new round of negotiations could delay the bill by several days, while a veto by Mr. Trump could delay the passage of a bill by weeks.
According to Wall Street analysts, there are a few ways this could work. Congress could approve the $ 2,000 checks early next week, paving the way for Mr. Trump to sign the bill, but it’s unclear whether Republican lawmakers will agree to the change, Heights Securities noted.
If Mr. Trump vetoes the bill, “things could really fall apart,” Heights Securities said. Congress could try to re-pass the bill at the new session of Congress, starting Jan. 3, but lawmakers could try to rethink some of the bill’s provisions, such as the amount per stimulus check, which will re-enter passage could slow down, they predicted.
How about the $ 600 checks?
For now, some analysts say the $ 600 check bill is likely to move forward, although the path is “complicated,” Raymond James Mills said.
The checks represent half the amount spent on most U.S. households in the spring, when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) allowed $ 1,200 checks for eligible adults.
However, under the bill passed by Congress, one group of people would receive more money in the second round of incentive checks than the first: dependent children, who would receive the same $ 600 checks as adults, higher than the $ 600 checks. 500 those children through the CARES Act in the spring.
Singles who earn up to $ 75,000 would receive $ 600, while married couples who earn up to $ 150,000 would receive $ 1,200.
The second round of checks would have the same kind of income phasing as in the CARES Act, lowering stimulus checks for earnings in excess of $ 75,000 per single or $ 150,000 per married couple.
The amount of payment individuals receive would be reduced by $ 5 for every $ 100 in income earned above those thresholds, according to the House Appropriations committee. This is comparable to the CARES Act, but compared to the previous bill, less higher earning taxpayers would be eligible for the checks under this formula.
The second incentive check would be completely phased out for singles earning more than $ 87,000 or married couples earning more than $ 174,000 – compared to the phasing out of the CARES Act for singles earning more than $ 99,000 and couples earning more than $ 198,000 to earn.
To see how much you could receive, go to Omni Calculator’s second stimulus calculator for an estimate.
$ 600 for each “dependent” child
Aside from the smaller adult stimulation controls, the other big change under the bill passed by Congress is the amount provided for dependent children: $ 600 for each child, compared to $ 500 in the CARES Act.
However, the bill says the $ 600 would be spent on any dependent child under the age of 17, meaning adults who are nonetheless claimed as dependents – such as college students and older high school students – will not be eligible for the checks.
Adult dependents, such as seniors who are identified as dependents according to their adult children’s tax returns, are also not eligible for the checks. The exclusion of students and other adult dependents was a matter of debate during the first round of checks, with some families arguing that older dependents should also be eligible for the payments.
A family of two parents with two dependent children could receive up to $ 2,400, according to lawmakers.
Households with a “mixed status”
Couples with a immigrant without a green card would also qualify for the controls, a provision that goes back to the CARES law, the summary said.
This is important to many families because the first round of incentive checks only went to US citizens or immigrants with foreigner resident status, also known as a green card. Legal immigrants without a green card, as well as undocumented immigrants, were banned – and also US citizens married to immigrants without a green card were banned, as well as their children, even if the young dependent citizens are citizens.
Refusing checks to US citizens because of their marital or parental relationship with an immigrant cause for litigation earlier this year about what plaintiffs claimed was an unconstitutional action.
What about Social Security recipients?
A glitch in the first stimulus payments was one slower rollout for Social Security recipients, as well as supplemental security income recipients, Rail Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries. Because some of those recipients don’t file tax returns – which the IRS relied on to split the earliest stimulus payments – millions of them waited weeks or months to receive their checks.
But the new bill would ensure those recipients would automatically receive the $ 600 checks, according to New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan, who was working on a bipartisan incentive bill that became the framework for the latest negotiations.
“I am delighted that the final text of the aid package includes my bipartisan bill to ensure recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and certain VA benefits will automatically receive these payments,” Hassan said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch .
That means millions of Social Security, SSI, VA, and rail retirement benefits aren’t at risk of missing out on payments, she added.
Additional Stimulus Benefits:
$ 300 per week in additional unemployment benefits
Aside from the $ 600 incentive checks, the incentive bill also includes an additional $ 300 per week in unemployment support. That means that through March 14, 2021, unemployed workers would receive their regular unemployment benefits, plus $ 300 on top of that.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which covers handymen and the self-employed, would also be renewed, as was the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of unemployed assistance to those who are out of work. their regular state unemployment benefits.
PPP Small Business Loans
The Paycheck Protection Program would be expanded with an additional $ 284 billion in forgiven loans. Some of the funding will be earmarked for what the bill describes as very small businesses through lenders such as minority custodians, following criticism that the first round of PPP lending overlooked many minority and women’s businesses.
The PPP program would also qualify non-profit organizations and local newspapers, TV and radio stations.
A further $ 20 billion in loans for economic disaster damage would be earmarked for businesses in low-income communities, while $ 15 billion would be spent on live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions forced to cut back or shut down their operations. close because of the pandemic.