CORONAVIRUS

Stimulus check: would second Covid-19 relief payment be the last?

Millions in the US have received an Economic Impact Payment to help them cope with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic - but many say they'll need more money.

Second stimulus check: would it be last Economic Impact Payment?
SHAWN THEW EFE

As people in the United States ask whether they’ll be getting a second stimulus check, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says another coronavirus relief package is in the offing but that it would be the last one.

Many in the US say they need a second stimulus check

Passed in March, the $2.2tn CARES Act has seen millions of eligible Americans receive an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) of up to $1,200 to help them cope with the effects of a pandemic that has led over 40 million people in the US to file for unemployment benefits over the past 10 weeks.

However, a number of polls have shown that this stimulus check is only going to get people in the States so far. For example, 84% of respondents to a recent MarketWatch survey said they would be needing another cash injection.

A second check of up to $1,200 was included in the HEROES Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier in May. The $3tn package also proposes extending the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) scheme, which gives those claiming jobless benefits an extra $600 a week, until January 2021.

Republican resistance to HEROES Act, but White House to support second check

However, the HEROES Act has met with Republican resistance and appears unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled Senate in its current form. Indeed, it was described by both US president Donald Trump and Senate Republicans as “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber of Congress.

The White House has said it would support a second round of stimulus checks, though, with Trump recently telling reporters, “I think we're going to be helping people out" and "getting some money for them”.

"We're taking a look at a fourth and final bill"

Speaking on Friday, McConnell said a "final" coronavirus relief package of some description may well happen. "We’re taking a careful look at a fourth and final bill," the Republican senator from Kentucky said, according to CNBC. "You could anticipate the decision being made on whether to go forward in about a month."

"It will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago," McConnell said, adding that the legislation will be "written in the Senate" and "supported by" Trump’s administration.

$600 benefits boost "will not be in next bill"

Amid concerns among Senate Republicans that additional unemployment benefits could deter out-of-work Americans from looking for a new job, McConnell has said that the $600 benefits boost in the CARES Act “will not be in the next bill”, according to a report by Politico.

Live coverage of the coronavirus crisis

At the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic had led to 1,770,384 cases and 103,781 deaths in the US, which has been the country most affected by the virus.

You can get the latest United States-focused news on the coronavirus crisis by following our dedicated US live blog. We also have a rolling feed covering the protests over the death of George Floyd here.