Second stimulus check now more likely than ever. So, how much money could you get? – CNET

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Could a second stimulus check bring more relief money than the first, or less?

Sarah Tew/CNET

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If you were worried that Congress would put the kibosh on another coronavirus relief payment, you can relax: a second stimulus check is all but guaranteed. “We want another round of direct payments,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Direct payments to help families keep driving our national comeback. Helping to create more American jobs is an urgent moral priority.”

During his remarks, the Senator didn’t discuss who might qualify for the second payment or how big a stimulus check he will propose sending to Americans. Both are questions White House advisers and Congressional leaders have yet to work out over the the next few weeks. While some in Washington — including President Donald Trump — are pushing for a big cash amount, others are looking for a smaller payout to keep the size of the overall bill down. 

The first step is for the Senate and House to agree how much the total package is worth, proposals for which span from $1 trillion to $3 trillion. Only then can Congress debate what percentage of the package goes to a second IRS payment.

Read on for the different proposals for the size of the next stimulus check. This story updates often in light of developments.

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What the size of a second stimulus check could be

Leaders in Washington have suggested a wide range of figures for qualifying individuals.

As with the first stimulus check, it’s almost certain that Congress will include eligibility restrictions based on how much money you make annually, your age, the number of dependents you have and your US citizenship or residency status.

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What if the second stimulus payment is smaller than the first?

A second stimulus payment won’t be as much as the first, Kudlow said July 10. That aligns with statements from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s indicated that the next stimulus package will have a $1 trillion cap.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has made her disagreement clear.

“A trillion dollars is … an interesting starting point, but it doesn’t come anywhere near,” Pelosi said July 9. “We need $1 trillion for state and local [assistance]. We need another $1 trillion for unemployment insurance and direct payments. We need something like that, but probably not as much, for the [coronavirus] testingtracing, treatment,” she said. “What doesn’t measure up is, ‘Oh, it can only be a trillion dollars.'”

McConnell had previously stressed that the focus of another bill will be narrow and, if approved, will be the last coronavirus-related rescue package. Republican senators are focused on including incentives to bring people back to work. The final total is anything but decided.

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The president said he supports another round of direct payments.

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The White House wants a larger second stimulus check

The president has, over the past several weeks, come out as a firm advocate of a second round of direct payment to Americans.

“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats,” Trump said July 1, referring to the $1,200-per-person amount the Democrat-led House proposed in May. The Washington Post reported in June that the president has told aides he is largely supportive of sending a second round of checks to Americans.

Kudlow echoed the president’s support, telling Fox Business this month, “Direct checks are probably going to be part of it, as far as the president is concerned right now.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also expressed support, telling reporters at a White House briefing, “We’re going to serious[ly] consider whether we’re going to put more payments and direct payments over. It worked very well.”

The Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell made the case for more stimulus money in prepared remarks before the House committee on Financial Services on June 30. “A full [economic] recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities,” Powell said. “The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed.”


The Senate intends to weigh the benefits of a second check this month.

Could more Americans qualify for another direct payment?

The House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not passed the Senate and is not law, seeks larger payments for more family members, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). McConnell has already dismissed the bill, as has the president, who has called it DOA. Here are the broad outlines of the House bill:

  • Individuals: An eligible person could receive up to $1,200.
  • Children and dependents: Each dependent could qualify for a $1,200 payment.
  • Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece.
  • People who aren’t US citizens: Noncitizens who file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.

The bill would also extend many federal benefits set to expire this month.

How long will we wait for a stimulus check decision?

The Senate has now returned to Washington and will have three weeks until Aug. 7 to pass another stimulus bill before a month-long recess.

If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay and what you can do if you think your payment is lost or has fallen through the cracks.