Debate Over Stimulus Bill Continues, Second Check Confirmed

GOP leaders in Congress hoping to release their coronavirus relief plan on Thursday were dealt a setback after several Republican Senators said they were unsatisfied with the plan and Democrats derided it as 'unserious' for the scope of the coronavirus pandemic, vowing it will not pass the House.

Early Thursday morning, Senate GOP leaders, including the chair of the Appropriations Committee Sens. Richard Shelby, (R-AL), the chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and the chair of the Rules Committee Roy Blunt (R-Mo) said they had reached a "fundamental agreement" with the White House on how to proceed with another coronavirus stimulus relief bill.

However, a few hours later, Republicans' plan to roll out their stimulus relief bill had stalled, with legislators promising an updated rollout on Monday. There was one bit of good news - a second stimulus check was confirmed to be in the next relief bill with the amount and qualifications similar to the first check that was sent out in May.

"We're talking about the same provision as last time, so our proposal is the exact same proposal as last time," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed.

That means qualifying Americans will see another $1,200 check, with an additional $500 for every dependent child you have under 17-years-old. Like the first round of payments, the second check will only be sent to those who made under a certain amount in 2019.

Single filers who earn less than $75,000 will receive the full $1,200 payment, with those who earn more seeing their check reduced by 5% of the amount they earn over $75,000.

Joint filers who earn less than $150,000 will also receive the full benefit of $2,400, with those who make more than that will see their check reduced by 5% of the amount they earn over $150,000.

In April, the House passed their own version of a second stimulus bill - the HEROES Act - which offered a far more generous relief package.

One of the main sticking points for Republicans is differences over the extension of a $600 federal unemployment benefit that many in the GOP have seen as a disincentive to work. The $600-a-week program expires July 31st. Mnuchin says the proposal includes an extension of federal unemployment benefits that when added to state benefits, would amount to 70% of what a person made before they lost their job. According to ABC News, the program would drop from an extra $600-a-week to around $200-a-week in some cases. The actual amount would vary person-to-person because the program will be based on a percentage of income.

Should the stimulus bill pass, it would take the Treasury about 13 days to begin sending out checks. As this is their second time, the process might even be faster thanks to a streamlined process.

McConnell said in remarks delivered on the Senate floor that the Trump Administration had asked for more time to review the stimulus proposal and that people could expect to see it by "early next week."

"The administration has requested additional time to review the fine details, but we will be laying down this proposal early next week," he said.

Photo: Getty Images

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