Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned that the White House and Senate Republicans are discussing including a stimulus check program in the next coronavirus stimulus package that would be very similar to the one featured in the CARES Act. Assuming this is exactly how the second economic impact payment works out, this would mean over 160 million Americans would be eligible for another payment. The economic impact payment program in the CARES Act sent $1,200 to qualifying Americans who earned $75,000 or less during the 2018 or 2019 tax years.
On Thursday, Mnuchin said the White House and Senators were discussing "about the same provision as last time, so our proposal is the exact same proposal as last time." This would likely mean that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's idea to target only Americans making $40,000 or less for another stimulus check is no longer on the table. No one knows exactly what the proposal will include, as McConnell said it will now not be unveiled until next week.
The CARES Act was signed in March and included a one-time stimulus payment sent directly to Americans, beginning in mid-April. Americans received them as a direct deposit payment based on bank information the IRS had on hand; as a physical check in the mail; or as a pre-paid debit card. Americans earning up to $75,000 received a 1,200 check, while Americans earning between $75,000 and $99,000 qualified for a smaller check. Any American earning over $99,000 individually did not get a check. Joint-filers received $2,400 if their combined annual income was $150,000 or less. Dependents under 17 also received $500.
Over 160 million Americans qualified for a stimulus payment, and the program cost a combined $269 billion, reports NBC News. Unfortunately, a Congressional report found that $1.4 billion went to over 1 million deceased Americans. The IRS has asked family members of deceased Americans to return the check to the closest IRS office by mail.
McConnell's idea to limit the number of Americans receiving a check seems unlikely based on the latest reports, but if Republicans wanted to put that plan to work, it would cut the number of Americans eligible for a second payment to 106 million people, according to CBS News. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who passed the HEROES Act with a stimulus check program similar to the CARES Act's already, did not support the $40,000 threshold. She has also argued the overall $1 trillion cost for the next stimulus package Republicans are looking at is not enough. Republicans will still need Democratic support to get a bill passed in the Senate and House before President Donald Trump can sign it.