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At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, spaces such as restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and other indoor gathering spaces closed indefinitely to ensure social distancing and minimize the spread of the new coronavirus. As these spaces closed, tens of millions of Americans found themselves at least temporarily out of work, and the U.S. government responded by sending stimulus checks to hundreds of millions of people. A second stimulus check may soon be on its way.
Senate Republicans will likely introduce their newest COVID-19 stimulus package on Monday. According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the second stimulus check will be of the same amount as the first stimulus check: $1,200. While other details about the stimulus check remain unclear, many experts have guessed that the qualifications Americans must meet to receive stimulus checks will remain the same, as will the extra amounts of money granted to certain taxpayers and families.
Under these qualifications, any individual with an income below $75,000 would receive a second $1,200 stimulus check. Married couples and joint tax filers with a combined income below $150,000 would receive one $2,400 check instead of a $1,200 check. Families who qualify for stimulus checks would earn another $500 for every dependent child age 16 or younger.
If the second stimulus check does indeed adhere to the same income guidelines as the first stimulus check, individual taxpayers who earn between $75,000 and $99,000 would still be sent stimulus checks, but for every $100 over $75,000, five dollars would be subtracted from the stimulus check. Similarly, married couples or joint tax filers who make between $150,000 and $198,000 would have money subtracted from their stimulus checks incrementally as their income increases.
Previously, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had suggested that the second round of stimulus checks would only be sent to people who earn at most $40,000. While current indications suggest that this income cap will not be included in the details scheduled to be announced on Monday, if the second stimulus check income cap were to be lowered to $40,000 – a decrease of nearly 50 percent from the first stimulus check income cap – 60 million people who received checks in the first round of payments would not get them in the second round.
The expected news about second stimulus checks would stem from a revival of the CARES Act, the emergency bill that Congress passed shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread lockdowns. Notably, Monday’s announcement will not pertain to the HEROES Act, which House Democrats introduced in May and has since stalled in the Senate. Measures addressed in the HEROES Act, such as relief for the near-bankrupt United States Postal Service and stimulus payments to undocumented immigrants (who comprise the backbone of American agriculture), are unlikely to be included in Monday’s announcement. Senate Majority Leader McConnell has insisted that the second round of stimulus payments will be the last one that Americans receive, meaning that the HEROES Act ultimately might not see the light of day.