CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: Senate passes Biden's American Rescue Plan to advance direct payments

After a mammoth overnight voting session in Washington the Senate has voted in favour of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that will provide $1,400 direct payments.

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Third stimulus check: Senate passes Biden's American Rescue Plan to advance direct payments
REUTERS TV via REUTERS

The Senate passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill on Saturday, ploughing through a round-the-clock marathon of debate, negotiation and amendment proposals to adopt one of the largest legislative packages in U.S. history.

The bill was passed with a 50-49 vote in the chamber after nearly 36 hours of debate and discussion. The vote was entirely partisan with not a single Republican voting in favour of the stimulus package.

When will the bill be signed into law?

Today's news is a vital breakthrough for the Democrats who hold only a slender advantage in the Senate. They had to keep every single member of their caucus onside to ensure that they could pass the bill.

Yesterday Sen. Joe Manchin caused a 12-hour delay as he initially threatened to support a GOP amendment that would have significantly cut the amount of unemployment benefits included. However a compromise was reached in the early hours of Saturday morning and they were able to proceed.

That change means that the bill will have to return to the House of Representatives for a final vote, because it now differs from that package that they voted on. The Democrats are not expecting any issue with that as they hold a ten-seat majority in the House.

Once passed by the House the bill will then be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to officially sign into law.

When will the stimulus checks be sent?

The stimulus checks will be a top priority for millions of Americans who are suffering through the financial consequences of the pandemic. The IRS should be fairly well-versed at the distribution process now having already overseen the two previous rounds.

One thing that could complicate the effort is the ongoing tax returns which has bumped the IRS’ workload up considerably. The tax authority have so far refused to push back the 15 April deadline for tax returns to allow themselves to concentrate on stimulus checks, but that remains a possibility.

We can expect the first stimulus checks to begin distribution within a week of the bill being signed into law by Biden. The first ones to go will be the direct deposits into bank accounts, which account for the majority of payments.

They will be followed by the physical stimulus checks around a week later, and finally by the Economic Impact Payment debit cards. The later may begin to be sent out around three weeks after the bill is signed into law.