Second Stimulus Checks: Starting Point for Next Relief Package Revealed

The possibility of a second stimulus package is looking more and more likely, now that Congress has reconvened after a holiday recess. On Monday, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has revealed a starting point for another relief package.

"We're focused on starting with another trillion dollars, we think that will make a big impact," Mnuchin told Fox Business, also indicating that lawmakers were aiming to pass the new legislation before the end of July, which happens to be when the current unemployment benefits expire — which affords those out of work an extra $600 per week. The new stimulus package will also aim to continue similar unemployment benefits, though the rate will likely be adjusted so as to not disincentivize people from going to work, a common complaint amongst Republicans. While it's no guarantee, he did say that the upcoming package should include tax credits for employers to bring workers back.

Mnuchin also indicated that there will be money for public schools, aimed at letting them reopen safely. "We want to make sure that frivolous lawsuits don't prevent schools, universities, and businesses from reopening," Mnuchin added.

The starting point of $1 trillion is roughly half of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which was passed in March to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced many businesses across the country to shut down. It's also unclear how any of the proposed money will be allocated, nor how it could account for President Donald Trump's promise of a "larger" payment than the $1,200 provided by the CARES Act.

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After introducing a number of bills, the House had previously passed the HEROES Act, which would provide a second payment of $1,200, along with another $1,200 for additional dependents, up from $500 from the CARES Act. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear not long after the HEROES Act arrived in the Senate that it had little to no chance of actually passing.

Instead, McConnell has insisted that the Senate will craft is own relief package, though it's unclear how much (if any) of the HEROES Act will make it into this new bill. There had also been some talk that the income threshold for qualifying for another stimulus check could be significantly lower than the CARES Act. Whereas the previous checks were capped at $100,000 annual income, McConnell has floated the idea of a $40,000 threshold, which has not gone over well with would-be recipients.