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Second stimulus check: $40,000 income cap not expected

Bloomberg reports that a second round of coronavirus Economic Impact Payments is not likely to include an income limit as low as $40,000.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to a reporter as he departs the Senate floor in Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Jonathan ErnstREUTERS

The income cap for a second round of stimulus checks may well be higher than $40,000, despite recent indications that eligibility will be limited to this figure if a direct payment is included in the next coronavirus relief package.

Senate majority leader hinted at limit earlier this month

Telling reporters earlier this month that a stimulus check "could well" be a part of the next relief bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to hint at a heavily reduced income limit, declaring: "I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less."

The amount was not one the Kentucky senator referred to by chance, reported the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein in the wake of the remarks. "Multiple sources say McConnell didn't just throw out $40,000 as a cut-off haphazardly - consensus within GOP is moving that direction, which would sharply limit eligibility," Stein tweeted.

$40,000 stimulus check cap unlikely, reports Bloomberg

However, citing a source close to discussions over future stimulus legislation, the business publication Bloomberg has revealed that a cut-off point as low as this "is not seen as likely".

$75,000/$99,000 limits on CARES Act, HEROES Act checks

As part of the CARES Act, a $2.2tn relief package passed in March, individuals earning up to $75,000 were given a stimulus check, officially known as an Economic Impact Payment, of $1,200. Checks for a steadily smaller amount were also available to higher earners, up to a final income limit of $99,000.

Passed by the House of Representatives in May, the HEROES Act proposed a second batch of checks with the same income thresholds, but the stimulus package's $3tn overall spend met with Republican resistance in the GOP-controlled Senate, where it was described as "dead on arrival".

Congress back from recess on Monday

US lawmakers are due to discuss a lower-budget bill - McConnell has insisted on a $1tn limit - when they return from a two-week break on Monday. With the House set to begin a five-week recess on 3 August (seven days before the Senate also goes on holiday), Congress’ lower and upper chambers need to agree a package by 31 July if President Donald Trump is to sign it into law before September, Forbes has noted.

Trump supportive of second stimulus check

Trump has stated his support for another stimulus check, telling Fox this month that he wants Americans to receive bigger payments than those distributed under the CARES Act. "I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats […],” Trump said. “I want the money getting to people to be larger”.

Live coverage of the coronavirus crisis

As of 06:00 ET on Sunday, there had been 3,711,835 coronavirus cases in the United States, leading to 140,120 deaths. You can follow live, US-focused coverage of the Covid-19 crisis with our dedicated rolling feed.