$2,000 second stimulus check Senate fight pushed to Wednesday – CNET

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After months of negotiation, Americans’ stimulus package has passed, including a second stimulus check. Now the Senate is weighing a larger payment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Whether or not Congress agrees to switch the just-approved $600 second stimulus check to $2,000 rests with the Senate, but by the end of the day on Tuesday, the upper chamber was no closer to signing off on the larger amount.

On Monday, the House agreed to boost the $600 stimulus payments in the new COVID-relief legislation to $2,000 and sent the bill over to the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer started Tuesday by trying to get Senate approval for the larger amount but fell short. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then said the Senate will “begin a process” of bringing the president’s priorities “into focus” and by the end of the day had introduced legislation that would link the $2,000 payments with a repeal of Section 230 and an advisory commitee that would “study the integrity and administration” of the November general election, two areas President Donald Trump asked the Senate to address after he signed into law the $2.3 trillion combination federal-budget and COVID-relief bill Sunday evening.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted his request: “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough!”

But many Democrats oppose the the two issues McConnell has tied to the $2,000 checks, and Schumer said the additions would doom the bill: “Any move like this by Sen. McConnell would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a $2,000 survival check,” he said in a statement.

In addition to authorizing a second stimulus check for $600, the bipartisan relief package renews programs both Democrats and Republicans agree are critical, including $300 federal unemployment benefits, money to help small businesses meet employee payroll, a month-long extension to the end of January of a federal eviction ban and assistance to help distribute the coronavirus vaccine.

Biden has referred to the stimulus portion of the joint package as a “first step and down payment,” forecasting a larger bill after he’s sworn into office — including a third stimulus check.

House on Monday voted in favor of the $2,000 second stimulus check bill

Now that the House of Representatives has passed the Cash Act (PDF) to authorize the $2,000 second stimulus payment per qualifying adult and dependent, it is with the Senate to consider. It isn’t clear when the legislation will come up for a vote in the Senate and if it can pass. The larger amount has been picking up support on the Republican side, with  Senators David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler — who are part of the Georgia run-off election in January — tweeting their support for $2,000 checks.

Democrats advocated through the summer and fall for a larger second stimulus check as part of a broader aid package. Trump distanced himself from negotiations, and his administration’s own negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, offered the $600 ceiling for the second stimulus check totals. 

Republican and Democratic lawmakers passed the two-in-one omnibus package by overwhelming margins on Dec. 21, after months of frustrating on-and-off negotiations.

While we closely follow the situation, read on for more information about the $2,000 stimulus check amount (the figure was advanced by a number of Democrats in mid-2020), the scenarios that could play out next and what we know about a third stimulus check for 2021. This story is updated often with new information.


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Second stimulus checks: Everything you need to know

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Trump’s $2,000 stimulus check figure treads familiar terrain

Since spring, several Democrats have suggested a $2,000 stimulus check, including Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey and one-time presidential hopeful (and now New York mayoral hopeful) Andrew Yang. Some supporters of this figure have even suggested sending checks on a monthly rather than a one-time basis.

Biden already supports a third stimulus check

Many US leaders seem to see the $900 billion stimulus bill as a precursor to a larger relief package in 2021, one that may include a third stimulus check and other provisions that Republicans and Democrats agreed to leave out this round to pass a critical deal. 

“This bill is just the first step, a down payment, in addressing the crisis — crises, more than one — that we’re in,” Biden said Tuesday, emphasizing that he would like to see a third stimulus check.

How quickly could the IRS send your payment?

Aid may begin to go out within the next week, with certain funding programs possibly receiving financial help before the end of 2020. On Dec. 21, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave the following week as the target for sending payments via direct deposit to people who qualify for a second stimulus check to receive their payment, intended to bring direct cash flow to tens of millions of Americans.

Because of the delay signing the bill, the timeline could shift, since agencies need time to set up their processes and communicate with recipients about what they need to do or expect.

You can calculate your second stimulus check total now. Here’s which payment group you might be in. Here’s what we know about how quickly we think the IRS could send a second stimulus check, and here are more details about weekly unemployment insurance.

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A vote on the new stimulus package could come soon.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Why didn’t the bill include a $1,200 or $2,000 second stimulus check?

A second stimulus check has had wide bipartisan support ever since the CARES Act passed. Over the last several months, everyone from Trump and Biden to members of Congress, economists and everyday people have advocated for another direct payment.

Trump has previously called for “more money than they’re talking about” in stimulus checks, as large as $1,200 or $2,000 per person. Aides reportedly convinced him at the time that making such demands would jeopardize a stimulus bill, The Washington Post reported, and the White House offer was officially extended at $600 tops.

Although many favor a $1,200 direct payment in theory, a second smaller stimulus check has helped keep costs below the $1 trillion cutoff that Republican lawmakers have in the past said they’d support. 

Stimulus checks aren’t cheap. The IRS said this summer that it had spent $270 billion sending out 160 million checks, and on Dec. 15, Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican who has been involved in crafting the bipartisan stimulus proposal, forecast a cost of $300 billion if the checks were once again included for $1,200 per person. Republicans reportedly bridled at the cost.

For more information about stimulus checks, here’s how soon you might get your second stimulus check now, what you should do to speed up the delivery of a potential second check and what to know about the HEALS, CARES and Heroes stimulus bill proposals that could help inform a final package.

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