Coronavirus

Second stimulus check: McConnell confirms there will be checks for low-income Americans

Senator Mitch McConnell spoke about a possible second economic aid check stating that the next bill would focus on jobs, schools, healthcare and liability reform.

Second stimulus check: McConnell confirms there will be checks for low-income Americans
Stefani Reynolds AFP

The CARES Act, which provided relief from the economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. Under that legislation the first stimulus checks were paid into people's bank accounts over the weekend of the 11 and 12 of April, giving a lag time of about two weeks for the first payments.

The first people to receive the stimulus payments, directly into their bank accounts, were taxpayers who had filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return.

Tens of millions of Americans received their direct payment by April 15, that is two and a half weeks after the legislation was signed into law by President Trump.

The fast majority of filers had received their payments directly in the first two weeks after the first payments, by the end of April.

Where the IRS do not have people's bank statement and have been issuing paper checks or prepaid debit cards the process has been far slower, with many millions still to receive their first stimulus payment in the middle of June. The IRS said they expected almost all stimulus payments to be made within 20 weeks.

However, with most Americans now having received their first stimulus check some time ago, and the economic effects of the pandemic still badly affecting the country, there is pressure on law-makers and the government to do something about further financial support to help those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Second wave of payments?

Speculation has been rife about the possibility of a possible second wave of stimulus payments as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans now appearing more positive that there will be a second round of payments, at least for some people.

Speaking in Kentucky yesterday, Monday, McConnell said: "I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked - hotels, restaurants - and so (more stimulus checks) could be part of it," adding: "the country needs one last boost."

Without providing details of a bill still being crafted, McConnell, who had previously stated that "basic protections" provided by federal unemployment insurance should be included, indicated they would not be as generous as those in the pandemic-related legislation enacted earlier this year.

"To have the basic protections of unemployment insurance is extremely important and should be continued," McConnell told reporters.

But the huge coronavirus stimulus bill enacted in late March contained "a mistake" by paying "people a bonus not to go back to work," he said. McConnell was referring to a provision that paid an extra benefit that topped up the wages earned by some workers before the pandemic hit and shuttered businesses.

McConnell has said he is putting together legislation that would protect businesses, non-profits, schools and other enterprises from liability lawsuits as they reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, weeks ago, approved a $3 trillion bill which would continue federal unemployment benefits and a second round of direct payments, along with a range of other support, such as emergency aid to state and local governments.

McConnell has refused to consider that measure and has repeatedly said he would put together his own bill.