Second stimulus check: will there be another payment in August?
A proposal for a new CARES Act from Republicans will include a second stimulus check but even if it passes don’t expect to get the money quickly.
A second stimulus check is looking ever more likely, as lawmakers look to provide further help to Americans who have been badly hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which shows no signs of slowing.
Democrats passed the HEROES Act - which called for a further round of stimulus checks - in the House of Representative back in June, however Republicans have shown no willingness to put the proposal to a vote in the Senate, where they dominate. Rather Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear the next round of aid for the American economy will come via a Republican proposal.
The Senate was expected to propose the next stimulus bill on Friday, 24 July, however that was delayed and it now looks likely that the proposal will land on Monday, 27 July.
That proposal is the product of tense conversations between GOP leaders in the Senate and the White House, with President Donald Trump keen for a more generous package, given his current poor situation in the polls and with one eye very much on the Presidential Election in November. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are desperate to limit the size of the total package, with an upper bound of $1 trillion being consistently mentioned. Both Trump and the Democrats favour bigger packages - the HEROES Act would have had a cost of some $3 trillion.
Second stimulus check will be in CARES 2 proposal
Despite Republican desire to limit the size of the stimulus spend, a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks will be in the CARES 2 proposal, with likely similar conditions to the first round.
That first round of stimulus payments were for $1,200 checks, with $500 for each eligible dependent under 16 years of age, with a limit of three dependents.
The payments were made to everyone earning under the income limits, which were set at Adjusted Gross Income of $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly) with the stimulus check value reducing in a tapered fashion up to a maximum of $99,000 ($198,000 for married couples filing jointly).
Whether these limits apply or not is still a moot point. The Republicans had been keen on putting an upper limit of just $40,000, but they appear to have backed away from that.
When will I get my second stimulus check?
Whether you get your second stimulus check in August very much depends on how quickly the legislation can be pushed through Congress and onto President Trump’s desk for signing.
The only schedule we have to go on is the one from the first CARES Act, so it’s worthwhile seeing when payments could be made if we imagine the second CARES Act goes through in a similar fashion to the first.
Key date: Senate August recess
The Senate’s last day in session is 7 August, with the senators off until 7 September. If the bill is not through by 7 August it won’t go through until the new session starting on 8 September.
Original CARES Act
The first CARES Act was passed by the Senate on 25 March, it passed the House the next day and was signed by President Trump on 27 March. The very first stimulus checks arrived in people’s bank accounts on the weekend of 11 and 12 of April, meaning there is a lag time of around two weeks from the bill becoming law to people receiving payments. The first big round of payments actually hit people’s banks on 15 April.
The CARES 2 Act is expected to be proposed on Monday, 27 July, with negotiations between Republicans, Democrats and the White House beginning on 28 July. If the bill is to get through before the August recess that allows for eight days of negotiations before the bill goes through the Senate on 6 August.
Once the negotiated bill is through the Senate it should be a formality for it go through the House on 7 August, and for the President to sign on 10 August (the next working day after Friday, 7 August).
A bill signed on 10 August would see the very first checks hit people’s banks on the week beginning 24 August. There is of course the chance that the IRS will be able to get the stimulus payments out faster this time around, because the systems and processes are in place from the first round and the IRS have the details more readily to hand.
Overall, if a second round of payments was similar to the first the vast majority of people should expect to get their payment by the end of the first week of September.
Second stimulus check legislation delayed to September
If, however, the negotiations fail to produce a bill by August recess, the whole process would move to September. Then, in a best case scenario, the bill would go through the Senate at the very earliest on 8 September (presuming negotiations continued over August even with lawmakers away from Washington and ready to press on as soon as they got back).
If the bill went through the Senate on 8 September, it would go through the House on 9 September and be signed off by President Trump on 10 September. In that case the very earliest payments would likely be made on 24 September, with the first main run of stimulus checks hitting people’s banks on the week starting 28 September and the vast majority of people receiving their money by the first week in October.
Second stimulus check payment run
If the situation with CARES 2 is similar to CARES 1, the second payments could still be going out 20 weeks after the bill passed. For an August package that would be just before Christmas 2020, for a September package that would be into January 2021.