After Congress could not finalize a stimulus deal on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will adjourn until after Labor Day in September. With talks hitting a stalemate, there seem to be more questions than answers as of lately when it comes to this new piece of legislation. Without tracking all the updates and implications by the minute, it can be hard to get all your questions answered sufficiently.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still on the rise in the U.S. and climbing every day, the economy has taken a commensurate hit. With unemployment high and social distancing still vital, many American taxpayers are counting on a stimulus check — along with other relief programs — to stay afloat. Sadly, the process of getting those payments has been fraught with issues.
Part of the problem, of course, is with communication. Whatever stimulus package passes is going to be a huge and complex piece of legislation. Even the Republican proposal, with a relatively low price threshold of $1 trillion, is more expensive than any stimulus package that passed before the coronavirus pandemic hit. A bill that size is bound to come with challenges, both foreseen and unforeseen.
The politicians working on that legislation all have their own priorities as well, which color the statements that they make to the eagerly awaiting public. With time running out, many are getting tired of talking in circles and just want a straightforward answer. With that in mind, here are some direct answers to the most common questions about the second stimulus check.
Did President Donald Trump's Executive Order Pass a Second Stimulus Check?
No, President Donald Trump's recent executive order did not include a second stimulus check. The president issued an order last weekend, forcing a few key components of the stimulus package through without input from the United States Senate or the U.S. Congress. They include the enhanced unemployment benefit, the eviction moratorium, a payroll tax deferment and student loan debt relief. These measures are temporary, and there is some debate about whether the president can legally address them with an executive order. Either way, there is no stimulus check included.
However, that might change as Trump tweeted on Friday afternoon that he has directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to arrange to send more stimulus checks to Americans. He went on to share how he is ready to direct the Small Business Association and Treasury Department to grant more funding for small businesses, and continued aid for state and local governments.prevnext
Can the President Issue a Stimulus Check?
In simple terms, no. Trump's executive order or even a tweet declaring such a gesture can not just go on to make things happen. According to a report by Forbes, such a program would require an act of Congress no matter what, and the Constitution was designed to ensure that the executive branch would not have enough power to do something like this no matter what. It is worth noting that Trump has already been criticized for pushing executive orders too far during his presidency, but in this case it seems that the language is more specific and more limiting.prevnext
What Are the Leading Stimulus Check Proposals?
Right now, the leading stimulus package under discussion is the HEALS Act — Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act. It was written by the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after he spent months delaying and ignoring the HEROES Act, which Congress passed back in May. However, some pundits treat the two bills as equally plausible in some discussions, depending on which issues they believe the legislators are more likely to compromise on. Whatever the name on the next bill is, it will most likely be made up of parts from both of these bills.
Meanwhile, some Republican Senators are pushing the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act, which was passed last month. It would provide a stimulus check worth up to $1,000, with an additional $1,000 for each dependent, meaning that large families would stand to get more aid than under the other plans.
Finally, there is the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, introduced in the Senate by Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey. It would provide a stimulus check every month until the coronavirus pandemic is over, worth up to $2,000. Given the enormous cost of this bill, most coverage treats it as an unlikely contender at best.prevnext
When Will the Second Stimulus Check Go Out?
The frustrating thing about the current stalemate in negotiations is that it leaves no clear guess as to when the next stimulus check will be sent out, no matter which bill it comes from. The Republican-majority Senate and the Democratic-majority Congress are still working on a deal, and while they continue to hint that they are close to reaching one, they have not reached a point where a date can be reasonably estimated.
Thankfully, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made one ambitious promise for Americans to count on. He reportedly claimed that once the next stimulus package is passed come September, he can get the stimulus checks themselves out to Americans within a week. This would be a huge improvement over the last stimulus check distribution.prevnext
Is It True That Some People Have Already Received a Second Stimulus Check?
Rumors claiming that some Americans have already gotten a second stimulus check are false or misguided. Recently, the IRS sent out new payments to people who received the incorrect amount on their first stimulus check, based on their dependents or their income. However, the government has not issued any new stimulus checks since April.prevnext
What Do I Need to Do to Ensure I Recieve My Second Stimulus Check?
While Americans must wait for lawmakers to settle on a second stimulus bill, they can take a few steps to ensure that they receive the payment easily once it is approved. Visit the IRS' website to make sure your taxes are up to date if you need to file them, and that your direct deposit information or mailing address are correct. People who do not need to file taxes every year can go here too to put their preferred payment information into the system.prevnext
What Is the Next Step in Stimulus Check Negotiations?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she hopes stimulus negotiations will resume: "I have a prayer that I say, let's pray for those who are hungry, let's pray harder for those who will not feed them" #CNNSOTU https://t.co/qtzQ2h1av6 pic.twitter.com/C812DbmKUm— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 9, 2020
Finally, the constant question is where stimulus check negotiations stand and whether there have been any updates. At the time of this writing, House Speaker, Pelosi continued blaming Republicans for the deadlock in negotiations over another round of coronavirus relief funding for Americans. The Democratic leader claims the progress is becoming "complicated by the complete disarray on the Republican side — as President Donald Trump contradicts his own negotiators and his own position."
The House and the Senate are now on hiatus until September without passing a stimulus bill after discussions broke down between the Trump administration and Democrats. Though in a beacon of hope, if there is a deal on the stimulus relief bill finally made, members have 24-hour notice to return for votes.prev