Will Americans get a second coronavirus stimulus check? Your top questions answered
WASHINGTON - President Trump signaled this week that he supports sending a second round of direct cash payments to Americans still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic lockdown.
Asked during an interview by Scripps reporter Joe St. George whether he plans to give another stimulus check to some Americans, Trump said: "Yeah we are. We are."
"We will be doing another stimulus package," he added. "It'll be very good, it'll be very generous."
The president has told privately aides he believes that another issuance of checks to Americans could improve the nation's economy and bolster his chances for reelection in November, according to The Washington Post.
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The White House has not officially taken a stance on a second stimulus payment. Trump declined to say how much money Americans could see. He said he expected the proposal to receive bipartisan support and projected it would happen within the next couple of weeks. "You'll find out about it," he said. "You'll find out."
Here are the answers to some of the most popular questions about a second stimulus payment.
Will there be a second stimulus check?
Maybe. Lawmakers largely agree that a fourth aid package is necessary, but remain divided over which specific policy measures to include.
There is not a second stimulus check yet, but some key players, including Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have acknowledged that the option is on the table. Congress authorizes spending; Senate Republicans are expected to work in tandem with the White House to draft legislation, with some input from Democrats. Some Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said another payment is necessary for some Americans' survival.
The only proposal that’s been passed by either chamber of Congress is the HEROES Act, the massive $3 trillion relief package put forward by House Democrats. Among other things, it includes a second one-time payment of up to $1,200 to some Americans. However, the legislation has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
When will we know if there's a second stimulus check?
White House officials have said they do not intend to pass more relief measures until at least the beginning of July. The Senate is not scheduled to return from its two-week summer recess until July 20, making it unlikely that a fourth round of aid is passed before then.
On March 25, Trump signed into law the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which sent one-time payments of up to $1,200 to Americans earning less than $99,000. About three weeks later, on April 15, the IRS began distributing the money to tens of millions of Americans via direct deposit.
At the beginning of June, the IRS said it had distributed some 159 million payments, worth more than $267 billion. Of those checks, 120 million were sent via direct deposit; 35 million by check; and 4 million were made in the form of a prepaid debit card.
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How much money could you get in the second stimulus check?
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The amount of a second stimulus check -- if there is one -- is still undecided.
The HEROES Act would send another $1,200 check to some Americans and would broaden the scope of the money to include older teens and college students. The payments would be capped at $6,000 per household.
Some Democrats have proposed a more aggressive approach to stimulus measures. At the beginning of May, Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., unveiled a bill that would give most Americans a monthly payment of $2,000 until the virus begins to fade.
Similar to a House bill proposed in mid-April, the senators called for $2,000 cash payments to every American who earns less than $120,000. It would expand to $4,000 for married couples and also provided an extra $2,000 for each child up to three. That means families with three children could theoretically receive $10,000 per month.
Who could receive a second stimulus check?
It's not clear yet who would be eligible to receive another check.
The first stimulus check sent one-time payments of $1,200 for individuals who earn less than $75,000 annually and $2,400 checks for couples who earn less than $150,0000, as well as $500 for every child under the age of 17. The payments were tapered for higher-earners and phased out completely for individuals who earn more than $99,000.
One criticism of the CARES Act, however, is that it excluded older children and college students.
Advisers to Trump have also suggested the money could be targeted to individuals who need it the most.
"I think the tax rebates or the direct mail checks are on the table," Kudlow told FOX Business this week. "This is all pre-decisional, that's a lot of discussions going on. Probably we would want to target those to those folks who lost their jobs and are most in need. That's a speculation on my part, but that's where I think this is going."
Who doesn't support a second stimulus check?
Some White House advisers, like Art Laffer and Stephen Moore, have questioned the need for additional spending, sounding the alarm on what is expected to be the highest deficit in the nation's history. They've instead called for deregulation efforts, including a payroll tax cut.
Senate Republicans have also questioned the need for a second payment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the fourth stimulus package should focus on investing in "future generations," and argued it needs to include liability protection for businesses reopening.
Several Republican senators have expressed concern about the nation's ballooning deficit. The gap between what the government spends and collects is expected to hit $3.7 trillion in 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a record.
"I expressed a lot of skepticism about the wisdom about doing another big spending bill," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., said this week.
Some Democrats have also questioned whether another payment is necessary.
Sen. Ben Cardin, R-Md., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he wants the next round of coronavirus relief to target households that have been hit hardest by the recession.
"I think the next round we've got to be more targeted to those who are really in need. So I hope we can target this a little bit better to those who have been hit hard because of COVID-19," he told the Hill this week.