Congress created three key coronavirus relief programs in March, enhanced unemployment benefits, eviction protection, and a small business loan program.
And two weeks ago, these programs expired.
While there’s bipartisan support for the second round of stimulus checks, negotiators have walked away from talks without a deal, and the majority of the lawmakers have now returned to their home states.
Right now, the economy is showing little signs of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Thirty million people are collecting unemployment, consumer spending is down 8% since January and the number of open small businesses has fallen by 18%. The unemployment rate remains higher than at any time during the Great Recession.
While President Trump signed executive actions over the weekend in an effort to go around Congress to deliver some aid to Americans, stimulus payments are beyond what he can approve by himself.
Administration officials previously said they would support a second round of stimulus payments. About 160 million people received the money during the first round, which was provided for by Congress when it passed the CARES Act last March. It cost around $270 billion.
At this point, it’s still not clear what the second round of payments would look like. The proposal backed by the Republicans would keep the parameters largely the same as the first round.
The payments would again be up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families and would scale down for higher-income Americans.They would phase out altogether for individuals earning more than $99,000 annually and joint filers with no children making more than $198,000.
Families would again receive $500 per child, and Republicans have proposed making dependents older than 17 eligible this time around.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are proposing to send out bigger checks.
Their bill, which has already passed the House, calls for $1,200 per family member and maxes out at $6,000 per household.It would also make taxpaying immigrants and their families eligible regardless of their legal status. During the first round of payments, only immigrants with Social Security numbers received the money.
The phase-out thresholds would remain the same.
It might take weeks for the money to go out again after the Congress authorizes the program, and millions of low-income Americans are at risk of missing out altogether because they don’t usually file taxes.