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Coronavirus USA

Stimulus check: when does the US Senate reconvene and what will it decide in July?

The US Senate will go on recess from July 3 to 17 and when it reconvenes the HEROES Act and Donald Trump's $4,000 travel tax credit will be on the agenda.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flanked by other members of Congress.

As debate continues between Republicans and Democrats over a second stimulus package to provide financial support for US citizens during the ongoing coronavirus crisis the main question being asked are will there be a second round of individual stimulus checks rolled out for Americans during one of the worst periods of unemployment in the country’s history and if so, when will they be likely to be issued? The Democrats have made two proposals – the $3 trillion HEROES Act, which will be similar in form to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March and an additional proposal for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill known as the Moving Forward Act. President Donald Trump has said his administration is working on a “dramatic” Phase 4 stimulus package but details about what that might contain remain vague – although a $4,000 travel tax credit for domestic tourists has met with broad approval.

The US Senate is due to take a two-week break from July 3 to July 17. When it reconvenes, the HEROES Act, which was narrowly approved by the House of Representatives, will be put to the vote but it is widely expected to be rebuffed by the Republican-controlled chamber. Negotiations on a consensus alternative to the HEROES Act will likely follow swiftly, with both parties eager to get back on the campaign trail with a presidential election looming in November.

Second stimulus check likely to be $1,200

Unite Here! union members circle around the US Capitol during a car caravan for racial and economic justice.
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Unite Here! union members circle around the US Capitol during a car caravan for racial and economic justice.OLIVIER DOULIERYAFP

Whatever the final make-up of a second stimulus package looks like, any further stimulus checks for US citizens are expected to be of the same amount as the first, which began to be dispatched after the CARES Act was passed. These consisted of $1,200 dollars per adult taxpayer with an additional $500 for dependent children. This could be increased to $1,200 per child under a second stimulus check scheme, up to a maximum of five per household.

While the Republicans feel that the HEROES Act is a pipe dream and have declared it will be “DOA” when it eventually reaches the Senate floor, there is a consensus that a second round of stimulus checks and the injection of a huge amount into US infrastructure as part of a wider plan to boost the manufacturing sector and create jobs. More than 45 million US citizens have filed unemployment claims since mid-March and a temporary top-up amount of $600 per week included in the CARES Act is scheduled to have run its course by the end of July.

Republicans and Democrats debating stimulus amount 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during the unveiling of the Moving Forward Act.
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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during the unveiling of the Moving Forward Act.NICHOLAS KAMMAFP

Some Republican senators, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are backing a $1 trillion second stimulus package and while Trump made no mention of concrete figures in his Phase 4 package proposal, the final amount of money approved for a second package is likely to be closer to the $2.2 trillion released under the CARES Act than the $3 trillion Nancy Pelosi’s HEROES Act is aiming for.

If a second stimulus check package is signed into law at the beginning of August, following the timetable of the first round of checks US citizens could expect initial deposits to be made on the weekend of 22/23 August with a majority of direct bank payments issued by the end of September. 

Those who do not have bank accounts could have to wait until the end of the year to receive a theoretical second payment: the current version of the HEROES Act states that a second round of stimulus check payments will be completed no later than December 31, 2020.


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