As part of the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, the IRS sent more than $220 billion in stimulus checks to more than 130 million Americans. The bill provided aid for businesses and health care professionals, but direct relief to Americans was an unprecedented and significant policy point.
Now, more than three months after the CARES Act was implemented, a debate is raging about a second stimulus check. Millions of Americans are still unemployed, and millions more are struggling financially. It remains to be seen, however, if more money for taxpayers is coming. Politicians aren’t sure what relief plan makes the most sense, but a second stimulus check is on the table.
The Results of the First Stimulus Plan
The taxpayer relief portion of the CARES Act faced a number of hiccups. Many Americans faced delays in getting their checks, some had additional payments pushed until 2021, and $1 billion was sent to dead people. In short, the program wasn’t executed perfectly.
However, millions of Americans got critical financial relief that helped keep them afloat. Stimulus money, coupled with unemployment benefits, has helped those out of work survive. Those who kept their jobs have been able to expand their savings and build a larger safety net. While the stimulus checks alone aren’t enough to offset the economic damage done by COIVD-19, they’ve been an overall positive for Americans.
The biggest criticism, however, is that the CARES Act did not do enough. The average American household spends roughly $5,000 each month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even a married couple that each received the maximum stimulus, and bonuses for children, only got enough money to cover a few weeks of expenses. It’s no surprise, then, that many are calling for another round of stimulus.
Plans For A Second Stimulus
A second stimulus check has been rumored for months now, and was even considered in the CARES Act before being written out of the final bill. Since then, the idea has been floated, debated, denied, and championed by various politicians on both sides of the aisle.
The HEROES Act, a Dem-proposed $3 trillion stimulus bill, includes another round of $1,200 payments but with fewer conditions. For instance, under the HEROES Act, households would receive the full $1,200 benefit for children, as opposed to the $500 promised in the CARES Act.
The HEROES Act passed the Democratic-controlled House but is a longshot to get through the Republican-majority Senate in its current form. Senate Republicans called the proposal “dead on arrival,” but have pitched other plans like a return-to-work bonus. Overall, though, there is bipartisan support for more stimulus.
Recently, President Donald J. Trump indicated that another “generous” stimulus package was coming. The President has called for a second stimulus for weeks now, although he hasn’t laid out any specifics.
Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted the same thing, saying that the White House was “very seriously considering” a second round of checks to Americans.
Whatever ends up passing will likely be the final relief we see for taxpayers this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that a final answer on a second stimulus will come soon, but Americans should not expect a third check.
Politically, this all makes sense. 2020 is an election year, and no politician on the ballot wants to face criticism for refusing to approve financial relief to his or her constituents. While it’s still far from a sure thing, it’s a safe bet that another relief bill will be coming soon. What exactly that bill entails is another question entirely, though.