Coronavirus US

US stimulus checks: plans for a second round of payments

The first wave of emergency stimulus checks have been sent out but what happens when the money runs out? Will I receive another check?

US stimulus checks: plans for a second round of payments
SPENCER PLATT AFP

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By now, more than 130 million Americans should have received their emergency stimulus checks as part of the government’s Coronavirus Aid Relief (CARES) programme. Tax-paying Americans, earning less than 99,000 dollars per year, are entitled to a one-off payment of up to 1,200 dollars, plus an extra 500 dollars for each dependent child under the age of 16. (How to find out about your stimulus check if it has not arrived).

The stimulus checks will hopefully get families through the next few weeks but what happens if the situation carries on being the same or even worsens, despite talk of opening up the economy? (What to do if you've received too much or too little in the first round).

There has been talk of issuing more stimulus checks but that would require a new bill first needing to go through the US House of Representatives and the Senate before being approved and signed off by President Donald Trump. Learn about the latest $2,000 per person, per month proposal.

The Emergency Money for the People Act - talks on hold

Two Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives Ro Khanna and Tim Ryan had hoped to push a bill for another round of relief checks called The Emergency Money for the People Act. The proposal involves a 2,000 dollar monthly payment to every American over the age of 16 for up to 12 months. It also addresses areas which the CARES Act package excludes – such as allowing students and adults with disabilities to receive financial aid in their own right and not as a dependent. It also recognises that not everybody has a current bank account or fixed address so several payment options will be made available – direct deposit, check, pre-paid debit card or through mobile money platforms such as PayPal, Vemmo… etc.

Negotiations to implement the Emergency Money for the People Act are yet to get underway, with Republicans extremely skeptical of Democrats plans. While House speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi has backed calls for monthly checks for struggling Americans, Republicans are far keener on opening up the economy to give people a financial lifeline.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the focus should be on reopening the economy, not another round of checks. "The real stimulus that’s going to change the trajectory that we're on is going to be the economy, not government checks,” Graham said. “So I doubt there will be another payment.”

Others have gone further, with Senator John Kennedy (R-La) saying, "Well, people in hell want ice water too" when asked about the plans, while Steve Scalise reportedly called any strategy for monthly payments a “radical socialist” idea.

White House still considering second stimulus checks

Back in April, President Donald Trump said he a second round of stimulus checks was "absolutely under serious consideration", and he's said nothing since then to rule out the possibility of a further round of direct help to Americans hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. He's all too aware of the strong political message receiving direct help sends, evidenced by his delaying the first round of checks in order to ensure his signature went on the documents.

However, the other messages from the White House have been rather less favourable recently, with White House economic adviser Kevin Hasset now saying that another round of coronavirus relief legislation might not be necessary, arguing that “because there's been good news really, that the opening up is starting to happen faster than we expected” then there is a chance no further relief, including a second stimulus check would be needed.