Personal Finance

Next coronavirus legislation could usher in a second set of stimulus checks. What to know before you count on the money

Key Points
  • Capitol Hill lawmakers are set to consider another stimulus package to boost the ailing U.S. economy. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin projects that legislation could get passed by late July.
  • President Donald Trump answered affirmatively when asked this week if a second round of stimulus checks could be in the mix.
  • The president's support could be key to whether another set of checks goes out. As with the first round, Americans who have their information already on file with the government would get their money quickest.
Ambulances sit parked outside of U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The Senate has scheduled a late afternoon session Tuesday in anticipation of approving an agreement on a nearly $500 billion stimulus bill, including $310 billion to replenish the small business program.
Sarah Silbiger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A political fight is brewing on Capitol Hill over what the next coronavirus stimulus package will look like.

Trump answered affirmatively when asked in an interview this week whether Americans will receive more checks.

"We will be doing another stimulus package," Trump said. "It'll be very good. It'll be very generous."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin echoed that sentiment Tuesday and said legislation could get passed by Congress by late July.

But Americans may face another wait before they see the money from a second set of stimulus checks.

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What comes next

There are several possibilities for what could go into the next stimulus package, including expanded unemployment benefits and back-to-work bonuses.

The support for these initiatives are drawn very clearly along party lines.

House Democrats passed a generous bill called the HEROES Act, which would include extending the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits to January and sending another round of $1,200 stimulus checks worth up to $6,000 per family.

Meanwhile, Republicans have taken a more cautious view on spending, calling for prioritizing incentives like back-to-work bonuses instead of enhanced unemployment benefits, which they say could discourage people from returning to work.

Now, however, talk of more direct payments to individuals is gaining steam within the administration.

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White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said this week that both tax rebates and more stimulus checks are on the table for consideration in the next relief bill.

The first round of stimulus checks cost an estimated $300 billion.

Despite the hefty price tag, Trump's blessing may help usher in a second set of checks, said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

"While such payments are not always best targeted on those needing such payments and will add to an already significant federal deficit for the current year, in a recession and an election year, the probability of them be enacted with the president's support is high," Hoagland said.

What the timeline could look like

The good news is that a second round of checks would likely have a quicker deployment time than the first, said Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation.

As with the first round of checks, those who have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS will likely be first in line to get the money.

"Folks who have that information with the IRS probably would get it within a few weeks after the legislation passed," Watson said.

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Others may get the second checks more quickly, he noted. That includes beneficiaries of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Veterans Administration, following the government's efforts to get information on those individuals.

Notably, some people are still waiting to get their first checks. That could portend another wait for some people.

The discussions come as the July 15 federal income tax filing deadline approaches.

Mnuchin also said this week that that deadline could be extended again, though he didn't elaborate on how far it could get pushed out.

Moving the deadline could help make room for the IRS and Treasury Department to focus on the deployment of a second set of checks, Watson said.

On the other hand, filing income taxes with the IRS now could help taxpayers who want to get their direct deposit information on record in order to get their stimulus payments quicker.

"I think that is a good opportunity to get that information in ahead of the rebate," Watson said.

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