Next stimulus check: How much money could I get with a second round?
If Washington signs off on a second stimulus check, could you get an extra $1,200, or some other amount? It isn't clear, but this is what we're hearing so far.
Clifford ColbyManaging Editor
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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Is it possible you could get more money with a second stimulus check than you did with the first? Or would the tide turn and you'd wind up with less money, or none at all? That's the big question as the Senate begins to collect information it will use to help it decide on the fate of an extra stimulus payment.
"I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats," President Donald Trump said last week, referring to a lump sum up to $1,200 per person that the Democrat-led House of Representatives proposed in May. But there are other proposals, too, and not all of them as optimistic.
Remember that how much you get will eventually depend on your situation. For example, even if the bill passes, there will certainly be eligibility restrictions based on, for example, how much money you make annually, your age, your dependents and your US citizenship or residency status.
Watch this: Haven't received your stimulus check yet? Let's track it down
The situation in a snapshot
Keep reading for specific measures and dollar amounts. This brief overview helps set the stage.
The White House: Trump's clarification that he wants to provide more than a $1,200 maximum stimulus check for struggling Americans is a shift from vague statements of support over the last few weeks. For example, in June he characterized another stimulus package as "very good" without a sense of scope. "It will be very generous," the president said.
The Senate: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly said he'll keep to a July deadline to make a decision on whether Americans will see a second stimulus check or not. Following its midmonth recess, the Senate is expected to take up discussion on a second package the last two weeks of July. Here's a possible timeline, based on Senate dates and the timeline of the first stimulus checks.
The House: The House of Representatives has already acted, passing the Heroes Act (PDF) in May. If adopted in full, it would authorize a second round of sweeping payments in addition to other broad measures. It faces strong opposition from the Senate and the president -- Trump called it DOA -- and is not expected to pass.
How could a second stimulus check help the economy?
The White House vision for the second stimulus check
The president has grown more vocal in supporting another direct payment to individuals. "I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly," the president told Fox Business July 1.
Watch this: Do this first if you've been laid off or furloughed
Trump and his economic advisers are looking to boost the US economy with incentives for workers to find new employment or return to their preexisting jobs. The White House is also considering tax breaks for those who take a vacation in the US (PDF) this year to encourage spending, the Journal reported. Japan has taken a similar approach to encourage domestic travel.
The White House is also considering reducing unemployment payments to $250 or $300 a week during the second half of the year, which Republicans believe will induce people who lost their jobs to find work. Currently, payments are $600 a week, as part of the CARES Act passed in March. The enhanced benefits expire at the end this month.
The president continues to push for payroll tax cuts, an idea he brought up in March. "We will be going for a payroll tax cut," he said in June, "which will be incredible in terms of what we are doing because we are going to be bigger and better than we ever were."
What are Republican leaders offering?
Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, have yet to share clear guidelines they want to follow for a second round. Talk has focused on limiting the size of the bill, liability protection for businesses and a strong message that this coronavirus stimulus package would be the last.
"I can't tell you what the amount is likely to be at this point, but it won't be $3 trillion," McConnell said on June 27. In comparison, the CARES Act is a $2 trillion package, the same amount the president targeted for this next round. The Heroes Act proposes to spend $3 trillion.
The Senate package could include provisions to reduce liability for doctors and businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits, The Wall Street Journal reported in May. It could also include assistance for small businesses and health care.
What does the Heroes Act propose?
The House of Representatives, which has a Democrat majority, passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not passed the Senate and is not law, seeks a wide range of benefits for households, renters and people who live in the US and are not citizens, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). McConnell has already dismissed the bill, as has the White House, saying the House package is "more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wishlists."
Here are its outlines:
Individuals: An eligible person would receive up to $1,200 if their adjusted gross income, or AGI, from their 2019 federal tax filing or 2018 filing (if you haven't filed taxes yet) was less than $75,000 and incrementally decrease as the AGI goes up.
Children and dependents: Each dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment, unlike the first stimulus bill, which capped up to three children at $500 apiece. It would apply to college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and a taxpayer's parent.
Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece. The amount you'd be eligible to receive would decline the higher your AGI is.
Unemployment benefits: The bill would carry over the current enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week (on top of states' typical unemployment payout) to January 2021.
Second stimulus check: What comes next?
The House has made its move and now we wait on the White House and the Senate to share their full proposals, which should be up for debate sometime this month. Here's the timeline as we know it today, including the Senate's blackout dates for weeks of planned recess.