Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?

Woman awaiting second stimulus check
Photo by Cryptographer / Shutterstock.com

Now that the president has issued four executive actions designed to provide more financial assistance for Americans as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, you might be wondering whether a second round of stimulus checks is still possible.

The three executive memorandums and one executive order that President Donald Trump issued on Aug. 8 don’t involve stimulus payments — that would require congressional action. But the executive actions don’t preclude Congress from adopting another coronavirus relief bill, either. So, technically, it’s still possible for you to receive another stimulus check.

Granted, no one knows for sure that a second round of payments will happen.

What we do know at this point is a mix of good and bad news: The Trump administration and both chambers of Congress have expressed in one way or another that they support another round of payments, but Congress still has a lot of work to do.

Progress so far

The administration expressed support for a second round of stimulus payments as recently as Aug. 10.

“You know, the president would love to see the direct payments to Americans,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives already has passed a bill that calls for stimulus payments, and senators have proposed multiple such bills:

  • Heroes Act: On May 15, the Democratic-lead House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act. This stimulus bill calls for $3.4 trillion in aid, including direct payments of as much as $6,000 per household.
  • HEALS Act: On July 27, Republican leaders in the Senate unveiled their own stimulus package — the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability and Schools Act. It calls for an estimated $1 trillion in aid, including a second round of stimulus payments that would be similar to the first round. To see exactly how much money you would receive under the Heroes Act or HEALS Act, check out “Which Political Party Would Give You a Better Second Stimulus Check?
  • Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act: On July 30, a quartet of Senate Republicans announced this bill calling for a second round of stimulus payments based on a different formula than the other bills: $1,000 for each adult and child with a Social Security number.

What’s the holdup?

For another round of stimulus payments to become reality, both chambers of a politically divided Congress must pass the same piece of legislation.

That might seem a long way off when you consider the multitrillion-dollar difference between the Heroes Act and the HEALS Act. But it’s not impossible or even unprecedented.

Earlier this year, Congress adopted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act after drawn-out negotiations between Democratic and Republican leaders. That law, better known as the CARES Act, authorized the first round of stimulus payments.

As was temporarily the case with the CARES Act, though, bickering between the two political parties is currently holding up the would-be next coronavirus relief law — and thus your chances of receiving a second stimulus check.

As recently as Aug. 11, Congressional leaders seemed more interested in passing blame than passing legislation.

On the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said leading Democrats have “blocked more pandemic relief over unrelated liberal demands” for weeks now.

His remarks followed a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, insisting on “a comprehensive bill” while stating they were willing to meet Republicans halfway and “work together.”

If you’ve had enough of such talk, you can take it up with your congressional representatives.

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