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Second stimulus check: July 2020 timeline, how much you could get, pros and cons – CNET

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Leaders in Washington may take work on second stimulus package in July.

Angela Lang/CNET

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

If Washington does start work on a second stimulus package in 2020, it won’t be till late July, after Congress returns from a two-week recess, CBS News reports. Before White House and Republican leaders do 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 reports.

While there is no firm timeline for when Senate, House and White House negotiators will make a decision, they are under pressure to reach a deal quickly, as the enhanced unemployment allowances for an additional $600 per month are set to expire July 31. Meanwhile, stock market gains earlier this week appear to be short-lived as coronavirus cases rise in over 20 states, threatening businesses and jobs across the country with a second wave of COVID-19.

If there is a second stimulus check from the IRS — and some signs suggest momentum in this direction — House Democrats, Senate Republicans and White House advisers each have different visions for what another financial rescue bill would contain. That includes how much money would be allocated for individuals, families, young adults who were excluded from the first stimulus check and unemployed workers. To move forward over the coming months, White House and congressional leaders will need to find common ground.

Read on for everything we know about a second stimulus check, including three different proposals and how much money you could get. This story updates frequently with new information and is intended to provide an overview of the situation. If you’re waiting for your first check, 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.

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

Angela Lang/CNET

Do we still need a second stimulus check?

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

On the “yes” side, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in Senate testimony on Wednesday 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 on Wednesday, agreed. “It’s possible [the Fed] will need to do more and it’s possible that Congress will need to do more,” he said.

Over in the “wait and see” camp, the US unemployment rate appears to be dropping (PDF) as it recovers from the coronavirus, with new jobless claims dropping 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 week 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 week

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 hospitalization rates reportedly rising following the Memorial Day weekend.

Will stimulus checks Round 2 really be decided in July?

While there’s no set date for deciding if a second stimulus payment will occur, the current timeline is about on target with earlier reports. In May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Congress may decide in about a month if it will take up a second round, CNBC reported, which would have made June the time to decide if another stimulus bill would occur, with the bulk of the work happening in July (more below). 

White House officials had previously anticipated that the executive branch will work on its own proposal through July, according to The Wall Street Journal. That may still be the case. It’s hard to know if the protests sweeping the globe in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery will affect the government’s agenda. 

The Senate goes on recess from July 3 until July 17 as part of a scheduled break from Washington for senators to work in their home states.

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The three major proposals for the next stimulus check

In a nutshell, the Democratic proposal for a second round of payments is the most developed, with its Heroes Act passing a House vote in May. It is now with the Senate. The House package — if signed into law, which isn’t looking likely — would provide a second round of payments to individuals and families and extend enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of the year.

The White House plan is still taking shape, according to The Wall Street Journal, with President Donald Trump and his economic advisers looking to boost the US economy with incentives for workers to find or return to their preexisting jobs, eat at restaurants and take vacations, for example. 

Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, have sketched out parameters they want to follow for a second round, including a cap on the size of the bill and a stipulation it will be the final stimulus package related to the coronavirus pandemic.

More details on all of these potential approaches below.

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

The Heroes Act passed by the House would include a second direct payment to individuals and households of up to $1,200 per family member, capped at $6,000 for a family of five. Neither White House officials nor McConnell have offered specifics on whether individual payments would be part of their proposals. 

Outside of the three major proposals, others in Washington continue to push for additional aid for Americans. Senator Kamala Harris earlier this month said a one-time payment of $1,200 is not enough. She proposes to send $2,000 per month to eligible Americans till January 2021.

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How much more stimulus money will there be? That’s the question the government has yet to decide, if there is a second check at all.

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The White House vision for the second stimulus check

The president has already expressed support for a second round of stimulus money. “We’ll be asking for additional stimulus money,” Trump said Friday from the White House Rose Garden. “Because once we get this going, it’ll be far bigger and far better than we’ve ever seen in this country — that includes as of three or four months ago, when everyone thought it was great and it was great.” 

During his remarks last week, the president also mentioned support for restaurants, many of which are now reopening with social distancing restrictions after closing because of the pandemic.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House will begin sketching out its own proposal for a second stimulus package as soon as this week. It’s expected to focus on initiatives that could help the US economy recover, such as incentives for workers to find jobs and for people to spend money in their town.

The White House is also considering reducing unemployment payments to $250 or $300 a week during the second half of the year, which Republicans believe will induce people who lost their jobs to find work. Currently, payments are $600 a week, as part of the CARES Act passed in March. The enhanced benefits expire July 31.

The president continues to push for payroll tax cuts, an idea he brought up in March. “We will be going for a payroll tax cut,” he said this past Friday, “which will be incredible in terms of what we are doing because we are going to be bigger and better than we ever were.”

The White House is also looking at tax breaks for those who take a vacation in the US this year to encourage spending, the Journal reported. Japan has taken a similar approach to encourage domestic travel. Presidential aides predict the terms of its package won’t be completed until July, according to the Journal.

What does the House’s Heroes Act propose?

The Heroes Act seeks a wide range of benefits for households, renters and noncitizens who live in the US, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). Because it’s still a proposal, the details of the stimulus package are not guaranteed, but here are outlines of the bill.

Individuals: An eligible person would receive up to $1,200 if their adjusted gross income, or AGI, from their 2019 federal tax filing or 2018 filing (if you haven’t filed taxes yet) was less than $75,000 and incrementally decrease as the AGI goes up.

Children and dependents: Each dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment, unlike the first stimulus bill, which capped up to three children at $500 apiece. It would apply to college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and a taxpayer’s parent.

Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece. The amount you’d be eligible to receive would decline the higher your AGI is.

Noncitizens: Those without a Social Security number could use an individual taxpayer identification number to qualify for a payment.

Unemployment benefits: The bill would carry over the current enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week (on top of states’ typical unemployment payout) to January 2021.

What are Republican leaders offering?

While the Senate decides in the coming weeks if it will take up another stimulus package, Republicans have started sketching out the parameters of their own. The Senate may wait till the end of July to start work on the package, Bloomberg reported.

How could a second stimulus check help the economy?

The first stimulus checks for up to $1,200 apiece were initially intended as a one-time payment to help the people and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. That includes people who couldn’t work because they got sick, received limited work hours or lost their jobs when businesses closed as a measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

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

Angela Lang/CNET

But Americans continue to show concern about the state of the economy since the start of the pandemic, according to a June 5 poll by the Financial Times, with more than a third now saying a global slowdown is the biggest threat to the US economy.

Under that backdrop and with high unemployment and a potential global recession ahead, some wonder if the first check did enough for individuals, families, businesses and those who are out of work and are looking at how best to distribute additional aid.

Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported 1.9 million Americans filed new unemployment insurance claims for the last week of May, with 21.5 million receiving unemployment benefits by the week of May 23. That was actually a drop, as more people went back to work, with the national unemployment rate declining from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May as states allowed businesses to reopen.

In May, the International Monetary Fund forecast a deep global recession that could become the worst since the Great Depression.

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

The IRS continues to send stimulus checks to eligible Americans. As of June 3, it 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 last week (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 reached an unemployment rate of 17.2%.

Angela Lang/CNET

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

For now, we wait. It’s clear that a second stimulus check won’t happen immediately. Even if it gets the go-ahead in late July, it could take weeks after any legislation passes for a check to come your way.

To receive a second stimulus 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.

We’ll continue to update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’d like to 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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