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Second stimulus check: how much would HEALS give dependents?

The HEALS Act, Republican senators' proposal for the next coronavirus relief package in the US, includes a second round of stimulus checks.

Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to his office on Capitol Hill on July 30, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

As part of Republican senators' proposal for the next coronavirus relief package in the United States, Americans stand to get another round of direct payments that would again include extra credits for dependents.

Related: When can I expect my second stimulus check?

HEALS Act stimulus checks largely the same as CARES Act

Introduced on Monday, the $1tn Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act vows to distribute stimulus checks - officially known as Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) - that would largely mirror the parameters of those paid out under the CARES Act, a $2.2tn relief bill signed into law in late March.

Like the CARES Act, $1,200 EIPs would be sent to individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year, while joint tax filers on under $150,000 would receive $2,400. Checks for a steadily smaller amount would be available to higher earners, up to a final income cap of $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for joint filers.

HEALS Act: $500 for dependents of all ages

However, the payment of additional credits for dependents is an aspect where the CARES Act and the HEALS Act differ.

The HEALS Act offers households an extra $500 per dependent, as was also the case in the CARES Act. However, it seeks to include millions more dependents by broadening eligibility for this extra credit: whereas CARES limited the additional $500 to dependents under 17, HEALS covers those of all ages.

According to the Tax Foundation, a non-profit organisation that focuses on fiscal policy in the States, the removal of the CARES Act age limit on dependents would make as many as 26 million more people eligible for the credit.

There is no mention in either the CARES Act or the HEALS Act of a maximum number of dependents for which the $500 credit can be claimed.

$1,200 for dependents in Democrat-backed HEROES Act

The HEALS Act bids to bring more dependents into the fold than the CARES Act, but the proposed amount per dependent is less than the HEROES Act, a $3tn relief bill that was passed by the Democrat-controlled House in May but has met with Republican resistance in the GOP-held Senate.

Under the HEROES Act, Democrats sought to send out $1,200 for dependents of all ages, up to a maximum of three per household.

Negotiations over next stimulus bill ongoing

Following the unveiling of the HEALS Act proposed legislation, negotiations are ongoing between Democrats and Republicans in a bid to agree on a coronavirus relief package that can pass both the House and the Senate before the upper chamber goes on its scheduled month-long recess on 7 August.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) has said the HEALS Act falls "far short" of the assistance Americans need amid an economic crisis that has seen unemployment soar, and the two sides remained "far apart" after talks on Sunday, Bloomberg reported. Speaking to CBS, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows admitted: "We still have a long ways to go."

The extension of a $600 weekly unemployment benefits boost, which expired on 31 July, remains a key sticking point in the negotiations.

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