Coronavirus

A second stimulus payment is highly unlikely

Although the House of Representatives approved the HEROES Act that, among other measures, would provide for a second round of payments, the Senate has other plans amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A second stimulus payment is highly unlikely
Yuri Gripas / POOL EFE

The Republican-controlled Senate has made it pretty clear what it think about Democrats' HEROES Act: ‘dead on arrival’ according to several senators and President Donald Trump, meaning there may well not be a second round of stimulus payments for Americans struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. As of 1 June, the Senate returned to Capitol Hill to discuss the approval of a second stimulus package amid the outbreak and the protests across the country.

Many Americans had put their faith in the Senate approving the HEROES Act, which would give eligible citizens another stimulus payment but it looks unlikely that the Democrat's initiative will pass in anything like the form in which it made it through the House of Representatives.

According to Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, if there is another stimulus bill it will definitely be the last one and it will be significantly smaller than the CARES Act, which provided for the $1,200 stimulus checks to qualifying individuals.

The Senate won’t vote until later this month or early July on any package and they will most likely decline the HEROES Act and sit down with Democrats to discuss a new stimulus bill. While the Senate is tough obstacle, the political numbers on the ground favour the Democrats plans to aid the people of the United State: 40 million people have applied for unemployment benefits and the first stimulus check is widely considered to have not provided enough financial support for many of those struggling with the fallout from Covid-19.

Those who oppose a second stimulus check

The argument for not giving a second round of payments to millions of Americans suffering during the pandemic is that the economy is improving as states started to reopen earlier this month. The other arguments: a second stimulus check will cost too much money (with the deficit already at record levels), it won’t be enough to actually help many individual Americans anyway, and it is not the best way to reactivate the economy.

Instead of direct payments to individuals, the White House is considering a proposal from Senator Rob Portman to pay a return-to-work bonus as an alternative to extending $600 a week unemployment benefits. This idea consists of paying a bonus for those who find a job or return to work and would be an alternative to extending certain unemployment benefits past 31 July.

This time round it appears the Senate will have a final say in drafting any new stimulus bill, but they the Republicans will need some Democrats to support the final legislation before it becomes law. There is some hope that the Senate will eventually decide to send out another stimulus payment, but there are other economic stimulus measures that may take precedent over a second stimulus check.