Coronavirus stimulus: Second check could be as much as the first

The millions of Americans who got a stimulus check this spring following as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of the country will be seeing another check within weeks if a plan set forth by Senate Republicans and the White House is passed.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters on Thursday that the plan for a stimulus check GOP senators are working on looks the same as the bill that passed in March that authorized checks to be sent to 160 million Americans.

“Our proposal is the exact same provision as last time,” Mnuchin told reporters Thursday.

The formula that was used for the first stimulus check and would be used for this one means that:

  • Individuals earning up to $75,000 would receive a $1,200 payment for themselves and $500 for their dependent children.
  • Couples earning up to $150,000 would qualify for $2,400 plus $500 per child.
  • The payment amounts would decrease in phases for singles earning up to $99,000 or couples earning up to $198,000.

In addition to a second check, the plan the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, are working on would inject $300 billion into the economy in the coming weeks, reportedly earmarked for school funding, money for local governments and addressing federal unemployment benefits which are slated to end this week.

According to Senate sources, the plan could be finalized and approved by early August.

Congress takes its annual August recess beginning Aug. 10 and returning Sept. 7.

The Democrat-led House would have to approve the plan, reconciling it with a more than $3 trillion bill it passed in May.

The House plan, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act, called for $1,200 payments to adults and children, in addition to money for state and local governments and unemployment assistance through at least the end of 2020.

One thing that likely won’t be in the package is President Donald Trump’s suggestion for a payroll tax cut. Trump had said he was going to insist on the tax cut before he signs any stimulus bill into law.

One proposal being negotiated would include more than $105 billion for education-related spending in K-12 schools if the schools reopen for in-person instruction, the New York Times is reporting.

Mnuchin said that the plan will address unemployment benefits, but not likely at the $600-a-week payment it was for the past four months. It will likely be “based on approximately 70% wage replacement,” Mnuchin said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, told reporters Thursday that the GOP plan was “very short” of where it should be.

"What we have seen so far falls very short of the challenge that we face in order to defeat the virus and to open our schools and to open our economy," Pelosi, flanked by Schumer, said at a news conference in the Capitol.

“Republicans need to pull their head out of the sand, get their act together, sit down with Speaker Pelosi and me, and start negotiating a real package,” Schumer said.