Personal Finance

Additional stimulus legislation may be coming. Here's what could be in it

Key Points
  • The U.S. government will provide Americans with more financial help, but it could be a while.
  • Congress may not be poised to act again until late July. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin weighed in this week on where administration priorities currently stand.
  • Here's the latest you should know, whether you're hoping increased unemployment benefits continue or want to see a second stimulus check.
Residents of Milford, Pennsylvania, and surrounding Pike County demonstrate against Governor Tom Wolf and ongoing business closures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Preston Ehrler | SOPA Images | Getty Images

Americans who are eager for more help from the government could be waiting awhile.

Additional stimulus legislation is coming, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said this week. But those talks likely won't get serious until late July.

"I definitely think we are going to need another bipartisan legislation to put more money into the economy," Mnuchin told the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Wednesday.

"We don't want to rush into that because we want to be both careful at this point in seeing how the money is in the economy," Mnuchin said. "A lot of the money is still not in it."

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Specifically, that includes $130 billion in unclaimed Paycheck Protection Program funds.

And other types of federal support are still winding their way into the economy, too. That includes economic impact payments, or stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per individual. The government has sent out about 159 million of those payments. Meanwhile, up to 35 million checks have yet to reach people.

In addition, many individuals are still waiting to get unemployment benefits, due to the unprecedented surge in claims. 

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'Fix unemployment'

During the Senate hearing, Mnuchin was asked what he would put in the next coronavirus stimulus bill.

"If I were king for a day, I would say we should spend the next 30 days looking at a lot of different things," Mnuchin said.

That would include providing incentives for businesses to rehire people, particularly in industries that are just getting back on their feet, such as travel and restaurants, he said.

"I think we're going to need to fix unemployment," Mnuchin said.

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The federal CARES Act added $600 per week to unemployment benefits to help the millions of Americans put out of work by the coronavirus shutdown. Some critics have said that has created a disincentive for people to go back to work because they are now making more money on unemployment.

But recent data shows that's not an issue, according to Mnuchin. "People want their jobs," he said.

The extra $600 per week is set to expire in July, prompting questions as to whether it will be extended.

"We will have a significant amount of unemployment, and we're going to have to look at doing something there," Mnuchin said.

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More stimulus checks?

Another area of contention is how exactly the administration could put more money into Americans' hands.

There has been talk of a second round of stimulus checks. Meanwhile, Republicans have pushed for backto-work bonuses.

"I think we're going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy," Mnuchin said. "But this is going to be all about getting people back to work."

The White House has signaled it would be open to additional stimulus checks.

The HEROES Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives, calls for another set of $1,200 payments. This time, however, the payments would be more generous, with up to $6,000 per family, including $2,400 per married couple and $1,200 per dependent for up to three children.

Those payments would have to get the green light from Senate Republicans. If the legislation is approved, it could take weeks, if not months, to get to people, based on the current status of negotiations.

Some Republican lawmakers have focused instead on providing incentives to get people back to work. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has proposed giving Americans who return to work a $450 weekly bonus. Meanwhile, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, has proposed a one-time $1,200 payment for those who go back to work.

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