CORONAVIRUS

Second stimulus check: No $2,000 monthly payment in Heroes Act

The Heroes Act, which was approved by the House on Friday, does not embrace previously-mooted plans for monthly stimulus payments in the US.

Second stimulus check: No $2,000 monthly payment in Heroes Act
MICHAEL REYNOLDS EFE

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been issuing $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to eligible Americans since April, in a bid to help people in the United States cope with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many in US need more than one stimulus check

However, with unemployment rising to levels not seen since the Great Depression - the latest figures show that 36 million people in the States have now applied for jobless benefits since March - 84% of respondents to a recent survey conducted by MarketWatch said they would be needing more than just one stimulus check.

Heroes Act provides for second round of one-time stimulus checks

With such financial necessities in mind, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (Heroes) Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, includes more stimulus money for eligible Americans. However, it does not embrace previously-mooted plans for monthly checks.

Instead, the bill includes another round of one-time, $1,200 cash injections, and vows to increase the maximum stimulus amount paid to households with dependent children to $6,000.

Monthly checks had been proposed as follow-up to first payments

In April, Democrats had introduced a bill in congress aimed at giving every qualifying American over the age of 16 a stimulus payment of as much as $2,000 a month for as long as a year, plus an extra $500 for families with up to three children.

Another similar proposal was the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. Put forward by Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, it would have involved monthly checks of $2,000 up until three months after the pandemic ends.

Such plans met with fierce resistance from Republicans, with Steve Scalise, for example, saying: "It's incredibly tone-deaf of Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi to continue using this crisis to push these radical socialist ideas that have been consistently rejected."

Heroes Act unlikely to pass the Senate

Although the Heroes Act limits stimulus payments to one-time checks, the $3-trillion overall spend that the proposed legislation entails means that efforts to get it through the Republican-controlled Senate are set to face stiff GOP opposition.

Indeed, the bill has been described by Republican senators as "dead on arrival" in the upper chamber, while the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has dismissed the package as "another big laundry list of pet priorities".

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