The U.S. government is still struggling to distribute the first stimulus check issued to American taxpayers, while politicians are debating the best way to use another round of emergency funding. All the incremental updates, shuffled in with new proposals, counter-arguments and news of delays can make it hard to follow the stimulus check story at all. Thankfully, there are a few consistent online resources to anchor the whole thing.
The coronavirus pandemic rages on, and at this rate medical experts say it will not be winding down any time soon. Some states have begun to re-open businesses and public spaces, but the transition has been shaky and, in general, not an overall win for the flailing economy. Many Americans are hoping for — or even counting on — another stimulus check to help buoy them through these uncertain times, but news on the subject is sparse and scattered.
Generally speaking, there are a few key points to keep in mind when it comes to stimulus check news. First, anything concrete should be easily traced back to a primary source — ideally the IRS' website, where periodic announcements have been going up since March. Additionally, bear in mind that lawmakers seem resigned to the fact that the next stimulus package will not be passed until mid-July, no matter what form it takes.
That leaves a lot to consider, and a lot of places to look for details. Americans need a certain amount of financial literacy to juggle the possibilities of another direct payment, a recurring payment, a payroll tax credit, a travel tax credit and all the other ideas that lawmakers are currently debating. They also need ways of understanding which of these options is best for them, and which is most likely to pass through the current political infrastructure.
For all that and more, there are online resources and helpful breakdowns of the issues to look over. Here's a list of some of the best references available for the next stimulus check.
Ongoing Stimulus Check Issues
First up, for those who qualified for a stimulus check back in April but have still not received it, the time has come to contact the IRS. By now, most of the payments have been sent out, and PopCulture.com explained last week how to reach out to the IRS and find out the status of your payment now that the dust is beginning to settle. As always, check the agency's "Get My Payment" app as well.prevnext
As for the next stimulus check, the option that is closest to passing and therefore most likely to pass is the HEROES Act, which has already been passed by the U.S. Congress and is currently stuck in the Senate. PopCulture.com has broken down what that law would do for Americans, but you can also read the bill directly on Congress' website.
Essentially, the HEROES Act provides a streamlined version of the first stimulus check, worth up to $1,200 per individual with a maximum of $6,000 per family. It includes slightly easier methods of distribution and tweaked income thresholds. Many Americans are furious that the United States Senate is taking its time in even considering the HEROES Act, so if you want to help get the money out there the best way to do so is to write to the Senators responsible for the delay.prevnext
Travel Tax Credit: Transcript of Trump's Proposal
Starting last month, the idea of a "travel tax credit" as a new form of economic stimulus began gaining traction after President Donald Trump praised the concept during a meeting with restaurant industry leaders at the White House. His administration has published a full transcript of that meeting, making it easy for Americans to understand what it means to Trump and to the restauranteurs advocating for it.
What a travel tax credit would actually look like after the legislative process is much harder to pin down. It would need to be drafted and negotiated by Congress and the Senate, likely as a small part of a larger bill. For now, understanding the intent from advocates for the idea is the best we can do.prevnext
U.S. Travel Association Calls for Travel Tax Credit
In an effort to promote the travel tax credit, the U.S. Travel Association has published a three-page explainer on the topic which gave it even more legitimacy late last month. While it does not bring the idea any closer to becoming law, it has gotten a lot of attention, and makes a good read for anyone looking to discuss or denounce the concept.prevnext
Payroll Tax Cuts
While the Republican-majority Senate takes its time considering the HEROES Act, many of its members are considering alternative ways to stimulate the economy without sending money directly to the American people. The most popular idea in this sphere is a payroll tax cut — where employers would be incentivized to keep paying their employees through the pandemic and not lay them off, ensuring that people had income without giving them government checks.
To get a sense of this idea, you can check out Sen. Josh Hawley's proposal, the Getting America Back to Work Again Act. You may also find clips of Trump endorsing this idea over the last few months, though he has contradicted himself a few times, so his feelings on the matter are clearly not consistent.prevnext
Emergency Money for The People Act
Right now, the ideas listed above have the most momentum, but that does not mean that alternate proposals should be discounted. A few proposals are still in the running which would provide Americans with a monthly or quarterly stimulus check for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring that they did not need to risk their health to afford food, housing and medical care. The Emergency Money for the People Act makes this case in Congress, while the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act brings a similar idea before the Senate. These ideas are relying heavily on grassroots campaigns, so sign a petition or join the conversation on social media to let lawmakers know you are interested.prevnext
Understanding the options for a second stimulus check are just part of the equation, as Americans may need to do just as much reading to grasp the obstacles against each of these ideas. Fortunately, there is some very clear writing on this topic. For starters, PopCulture.com has an up-to-date explainer on where the Senate stands on the HEROES Act, and why they say it is being delayed. We have also laid out the roadblocks against passing a stimulus bill in general, from the great to the small.
As for the travel tax credit, writer Jim Wang of Forbes offers a great explanation for why the idea may not pass, and why it may not be the ideal solution for Americans anyway. Similar op-eds are out there for just about every proposal on the table, leaving all the discussions open-ended.
Thankfully, the op-eds also offer a ray of hope, and it comes from partisan politics. In an essay for Business Insider last month, writer David Plotz argued that the Senate needs to pass some kind of stimulus bill this summer in order to secure key re-elections and ensure that the Republicans maintain the majority there. According to Plotz, the HEROES Act was likely designed to intense negotiation, and the Senate is responding with political tactics but will have to consider it seriously before long. At the very least, this analysis provides hope that the stalemate will end and Americans will see some form of relief before the coronavirus pandemic is over.prevnext
With all that reading under your belt, you may still find yourself at a loss as to where to look for your next update. This can be tricky, with so many politicians talking in circles and the same information so often repeated. As noted above, the best place to get concrete news that impacts you is from a primary source — in this case, the IRS website. In addition to the Get My Payment app, the agency now has a page dedicated to announcements about stimulus checks and the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. If anything extremely important happens, you will hear about it there.0comments
Politicians are offering updates as well, and it may be good to keep an eye on their social media output in the coming weeks. Speaker for the House Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge on the HEROES Act, while Rep. Ro Khanna and Rep. Tim Ryan are still carrying a torch for the Emergency Money for The People Act. At the risk of getting overwhelmed, you can set up notifications for some of these lawmakers to ensure you hear about an update as soon as it happens.
Finally, Trump warned this weekend that some "dramatic" news on stimulus checks will be coming out of Washington soon. The commander-in-chief offered no further details but urged Americans to keep an eye out for something big.prev