The second stimulus check may have a much lower income threshold than the first one, potentially meaning that 20 million Americans who got the first payment will be left out this time. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke about the push for another stimulus check on Wednesday, saying that lower-income people have been hit harder by the pandemic. He expressed interest in setting the threshold at $40,000.
"The people that I think have been hit the hardest during this whole episode have been people making $40,000 a year or less," McConnell said during a public event in Kentucky, according to a report by Business Insider. "Many of them work in the hospitality business, hotels, restaurants — we're going to be acutely aware of that particular segment of our population going into this next package that we'll be putting together in the next few weeks."
McConnell's proposed $40,000 income threshold would mean that 20 million Americans who got the first stimulus check would not get a second. This threshold, paired with the White House's recent hint that the payment itself will come in a smaller amount this time around, has many people upset.
The first stimulus check was worth up to $1,200 for any individual who made $75,000 or less on their most recent tax return. From there, the amount dropped by $5 for every $100 that the person made — so, a taxpayer who made $75,100 in 2019 would get a stimulus check of $1,195, a person who made $75,200 would get $1,190, and so on. People who earned $99,000 or more did not receive direct payments at all.
The House of Representatives passed a bill to issue a second round of stimulus checks back in mid-May. Still, the Senate repeatedly delayed even considering it, citing fears over the growing national debt. Congress' bill — the HEROES Act — would have created a second stimulus check for the same amount with the same income thresholds as the first. The biggest changes would have been to make dependent adults, immigrants and other groups eligible, as they were left out before.
McConnell has said that if there is a second stimulus check, he wants to write the legislation himself. However, analysts have suggested that Senate Republicans cannot delay forever on this issue if they want to seek re-election. In an op-ed for Business Insider back in May, writer David Plotz theorized that McConnell and Pelosi were both wearing poker faces for the negotiations to come.
On top of that, the Senate is likely facing pressure from the White House to pass a stimulus package that Americans will be happy with. President Donald Trump reportedly believes that a stimulus check is vital to his re-election as well. This week, he told Fox Business that he wants Americans to get even more money than they got in the first round of checks.