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Second stimulus check: Is another round coming, and when? Here’s the update today – CNET

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White House and congressional leaders may begin work on a second stimulus package in the coming weeks.

Angela Lang/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The pros and cons of a second stimulus check in 2020 are being debated in the chambers of Congress and the halls of the White House. The main question: Is another stimulus package necessary to help the economy? Outside of Washington, Americans may have already made up their minds. Back in April, 82% of respondents said a one-time payment of $1,200 would not be enough assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, preferring a monthly payment through the end of the crisis.

And a survey of over 6,000 Americans taken in May revealed that 30% had spent their stimulus check on household bills, indicating that the pandemic’s effects are taking a financial toll.

Before Congress and the White House can move forward on another stimulus check package, they’ll have to find common ground. The size of the package is a topic of contention. The House has already proposed a bill worth $3 trillion in aid. The Senate majority leader said he won’t go over $1 trillion. President Donald Trump wants the next rescue act to include at least $2 trillion to help American businesses and workers get back on their feet.

Meanwhile, the stock market continues to yo-yo as coronavirus cases spike in over 20 states, threatening businesses and jobs across the country with a second wave of COVID-19.

Read on for what we know about the timeline for the second wave of stimulus checks. This story updates frequently with new information and is intended to provide an overview of the situation. If you’re still waiting on the first round, you can track the status of your stimulus check, see some possible reasons why you don’t have a check yet and learn how to report a missing stimulus check to the IRS.

How much money could you get in a second stimulus check?

It’s too soon to pinpoint how much money individuals and families could receive. The final dollar amount will depend on how much money goes into the entire stimulus bill. Remember that the CARES Act that passed in March also included money for small businesses and enhanced unemployment benefits (which expire July 31). Even if a second stimulus check gets approved, the total you might receive depends on the size of the second rescue package and how much of that total is allocated to individual checks.

For reference, the first stimulus check gave individuals up to $1,200 with a total of $2,400 for couples who file for taxes jointly. Dependents under 17 years old netted another $500 apiece. Here’s a snapshot of who’s eligible for the first check, based on how you file for taxes:

  • Single US residents who have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000
  • Heads of a household and earn under $146,500
  • Couples that file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000

Nonresident people who aren’t citizens (termed nonresident aliens) and people who are currently incarcerated did not qualify for the first stimulus check.

What’s the timeline for Round 2 stimulus checks?

Congress hasn’t set a date for a vote on a second stimulus package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate may wait till the end of July to start work on the bill, Bloomberg reported on June 4. And that second relief package could very well be the last.

The Senate timeline to begin work on a second fiscal proposal includes a scheduled two-week recess, CBS News reported, from July 3 until July 17. White House officials also anticipate that the executive branch will work on its own proposal through July, according to The Wall Street Journal

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Congress is expected to start work soon on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that may put another $1,200 in your wallet.

Angela Lang/CNET

Before White House and Republican leaders begin negotiating the details of a new stimulus proposal, they want to evaluate how much money allocated to the first stimulus checks and other aid for businesses has actually been spent, CNBC reported.

It’s unknown if calls for police reform as part of the protests sweeping the globe in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery will affect the government’s agenda.

When the Senate, House and White House negotiators do begin negotiations, they’ll be under pressure to reach a deal quickly, as the enhanced unemployment allowances for an additional $600 per month are set to expire July 31. 

Would a second stimulus check come the same way?

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A second stimulus bill could be the last for Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Angela Lang/CNET

The first stimulus payments have arrived via direct deposit, as a paper check and as a prepaid debit card. It’s possible that the way some people get a second payment would be different the second time around. 

The House Financial Services Committee held a virtual hearing last week to discuss “digital dollars,” a payment method that could make it easier for some recipients to receive their stimulus money, especially if they don’t have a bank account, Fast Company reported.

Do we still need a second stimulus check?

The necessity of a second stimulus check forms the heart of the debate.

On the “yes” side, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in Senate testimony this month that the US economy may need more help. “I think we’re going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy,” he said. “This is all going to be about getting people back to work.” 

Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell in separate remarks seconded the Secretary. “It’s possible [the Fed] will need to do more and it’s possible that Congress will need to do more,” he said.

For those looking for signs that the US economy is already recovering without the need for a second boost, the US unemployment rate appears to be improving (PDF). New jobless claims dropped by 355,000 to 1.54 million for the week of June 6, the Labor Department reported (PDF), as more businesses reopen and reemploy hospitality, service and construction workers. 

On June 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported (PDF) that the US unemployment rate in May declined by 1.4% to 13.3%. Following the labor report, some in Washington asked if the US economy is already heading in the right direction without further government assistance. 

“It takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of any Phase 4,” Stephen Moore, a White House adviser, said about the job numbers and a second stimulus package, as quoted in The Washington Post. “We don’t need it now. There’s no reason to have a major spending bill. The sense of urgent crisis is very greatly dissipated by the report.”

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OECD/Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Others in Washington caution against reading too much into one month’s unemployment numbers. A new report from the OECD this month says COVID-19 has “triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century.” 

“There is good reason to be skeptical,” wrote former White House economic adviser Robert J. Shapiro, pointing to other numbers that suggest the jobless rate in May rose by 5.7% to 19%. Whatever the real May jobless numbers turn out to be, the US economy in February entered a recession, ending an economic expansion that started in June 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported this month

Even with a reduced May unemployment rate, the US still has one of the highest rates of out-of-work job-seekers in the world, according to the OECD report.

It’s also unknown how the US economy will react to a spike in coronavirus infections, with US cases spiking in some states as they reopen.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus Checks Helpline

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Is the IRS done sending the first wave of stimulus checks?

While it’s already made tens of millions of stimulus payments to eligible Americans, the IRS has more to go. As of June 3, the agency had made 120 million payments as direct deposit to bank accounts, 35 million as mailed checks and nearly 4 million as mailed prepaid debit cards, for 159 million payments total. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated (PDF) as many as 35 million Americans could still be owed a payment.

If you didn’t get your money yet, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay. If you’re worried you were supposed to receive your check and didn’t, here’s what you can do

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Even with some businesses starting to open, the US has a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/CNET

What will it take to get a second stimulus check and what happens now?

For now, we wait for July, when Washington plans to begin work on the next stimulus package. To receive a second check, the proposed rescue package would need to pass both the House and the Senate before receiving a signature from the president. Only then could it take effect. After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks. But it could be weeks more before you receive a payment.

We’ll continue to update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’ll share available resources about unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments and how to take control of your budget.

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