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Second stimulus check payment: How much money could you get?

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Could a second stimulus check bring more relief money than the first, or less?

Sarah Tew/CNET

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Senate Republicans intend to roll out their plan for the next economic rescue package on Monday, but we already know one important part of the proposal. It will include a second stimulus check. We also know that White House and Senate leaders are considering duplicating the $1,200 stimulus check guidelines that the CARES Act passed in March.

After the Senate rolls out its proposal — which Republicans are calling CARES 2 — the debate can begin with the House over the final details, including who will be eligible for the second round of stimulus payments and how much money each person could get.

The Democrat-led House has already passed its own second stimulus package called the Heroes Act (this is not law) and already one difference is how much money you could get if you qualify for CARES 2. The size of a second check will crystalize during negotiations over the next few weeks and will depend in part on the total value of the rescue package, with suggested figures ranging from $1 trillion (the Senate’s goal) to $3 trillion (the House of Representatives’ proposal). 

While we don’t know exactly how much money the check could bring, we aren’t completely in the dark, either. Here are the major proposals, including which are more or less likely given what we know today. This story updates often with new developments.

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How large could a second stimulus check be?

Various leaders in Washington have proposed different stimulus ideas and dollar amounts for qualifying individuals. Some of them are moot now that the Senate has joined the White House and House of Representatives in supporting another direct payment.

Here are the proposals that we’ve heard so far and how likely we think they could be, based on the current climate. Of course, another stimulus check isn’t a done deal and anything could happen between now and the final negotiation.

Second stimulus check proposals

Amount Proposer Proposal details How likely?
$0 White House Payroll tax cut so workers keep more of their paychecks. Unlikely to replace stimulus check.
$0 White House Business tax break for companies who don’t furlough workers. Unlikely to replace stimulus check.
Less than $1,200 White House Smaller checks targeted at low-income Americans. Possible if the final package is smaller.
$1,200 House of Representatives Part of the Heroes Act passed by the House in May (not law). Possible, with fewer people qualifying.
More than $1,200 White House Stated by President Donald Trump. Less likely, but possible.
$2,000 a month till economy recovers More than 150 economists “Emergency Money” payment for Americans to continue spending, one road to economic recovery. Open-ended payments unlikely to pass.
$2,000 a month till three months after pandemic ends Sen. Kamala Harris Payments through the end of the pandemic and three months after. Open-ended payments unlikely to pass.
$2,000 a month for up to 12 months Rep. Ro Khanna Monthly payments up to a year. The Senate is unlikely to agree to a sum this large, even with an expiration date.
$4,000 travel tax credit White House A temporary tax credit to cover individual and family travel expenses, meant to rev up local economies. Unlikely to replace stimulus check.

Could the second check be the same size as the first?

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Senate is considering an identical payment structure to the CARES Act. 

“Our proposal is the exact same provision as last time,” Mnuchin told reporters on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. Using the same guidelines could potentially be one less obstacle in negotiation and speed up the delivery of the check, getting it into more hands and bank accounts faster than if negotiation drags on. After all, the IRS already developed a system to deliver the CARES-authorized checks.

Could a second stimulus check be smaller?

Earlier this month, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said a second stimulus payment won’t be as much as the first. That was July 10. It aligns with statements from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has indicated that the next stimulus package will have a $1 trillion cap.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, made her disagreement clear.

“A trillion dollars is … an interesting starting point, but it doesn’t come anywhere near,” Pelosi said July 9. “We need $1 trillion for state and local [assistance]. We need another $1 trillion for unemployment insurance and direct payments. We need something like that, but probably not as much, for the [coronavirus] testingtracing, treatment,” she said. “What doesn’t measure up is, ‘Oh, it can only be a trillion dollars.””

McConnell had previously stressed that the focus of another bill will be narrow. Republican senators are focused on including incentives to bring people back to work. The final total is anything but decided.

cash funds running out of money change dollars wallet empty

The president said he supports another round of direct payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The White House has said it would like a bigger second check

The president has, over the past several weeks, come out as a firm advocate of a second round of direct payment to Americans.

“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats,” Trump said July 1, referring to the $1,200-per-person amount the Democrat-led House proposed in May. The Washington Post reported in June that the president has told aides he is largely supportive of sending a second round of checks to Americans.

Kudlow echoed the president’s support, telling Fox Business this month, “Direct checks are probably going to be part of it, as far as the president is concerned right now.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also expressed support, telling reporters at a White House briefing, “We’re going to serious[ly] consider whether we’re going to put more payments and direct payments over. It worked very well.”

The Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell made the case for more stimulus money in prepared remarks before the House Financial Services Committee on June 30. “A full [economic] recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities,” Powell said. “The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed.”


The Senate intends to weigh the benefits of a second check this month.

Could more Americans qualify for a new direct payment than before?

The House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not cleared the Senate and is not law, seeks larger payments for more family members, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). 

McConnell has already dismissed the bill, as has the president, who has called it DOA. Here are the broad outlines of the House bill:

  • Individuals: An eligible person could receive up to $1,200.
  • Children and dependents: Each dependent could qualify for a $1,200 payment.
  • Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece.
  • People who aren’t US citizens: Noncitizens who file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.

The bill would also extend many federal benefits set to expire this month.

When will we hear more stimulus check news?

Now that the Senate has taken up the topic of another relief bill, expect daily updates to the stimulus check situation. Congress has until Aug. 7 to pass another stimulus bill before a month-long recess. Here’s more on the timeline, including when the IRS could potentially send the first checks.

If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay and what you can do if you think your payment is lost or has fallen through the cracks.

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