Second Stimulus Check: Why the Next Payment May Not Arrive Until October

It has been a harrowing few months since the coronavirus forced a lockdown in the U.S. and with millions still out of work, Americans counting on a second stimulus check might have to wait a while longer. Weeks after negotiations stalled between top Democrats and the White House, little momentum has been made in the discussions, with new reports suggesting that the second round of direct payments may not be arriving until October, if at all.

The elongated wait mainly has to do with Congress' current recess. Although the House of Representatives was recently called back into session to take up a vote on funding for the U.S. Postal Service, both chambers of Congress are back on vacation. Currently, the Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until Sept. 8, meaning any stimulus legislation would not be able to make its way through Congress until that time.

There is a slim chance the members of Congress could be called back to Capitol Hill early should both sides reach an agreement, though that seems less likely with each passing day. The divide in talks has been playing out publicly on Twitter between congressional lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and there have even been conflicting reports regarding if either side has attempted to resume discussion.

Although White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Politico Playbook this week that his team has reached out to Pelosi's staff to restart negotiations and hopefully reach a deal, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hamill, has denied those claims. Hamill has said that while Meadows' staff did reach out to make sure Pelosi has his number, they did not directly ask to continue negotiations. Given that talks haven't even resumed yet, it makes it unlikely that a deal will be reached before members of Congress return to work, meaning, according to The Motley Fool, that is unlikely that stimulus payments will begin being distributed before October.

Stimulus payments had gained bipartisan backing before the collapse of negotiations, with funding for such payments being provided in bills introduced by both Democrats and Republicans. Should a relief package be passed that included stimulus checks, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will likely distribute them in the same fashion as the first round of payments, CNET reports. This means that those receiving their payment via direct deposit would be the first to get their payment. Paper checks would then be sent via the mail about a week later, targeting those with the lowest adjusted gross income (AGI) first. Economic Impact Payment debit cards would then be distributed.