House democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have passed (208 to 199 on May 15) another stimulus bill in Congress, called the HEROES act, which includes a new round of stimulus check (economic impact) payments of $1,200 per individual and $2,400 for couples. This is the same as the current round of stimulus checks being paid, slowly but surely.
The child dependent stimulus credit however has been increased to $1200 (from $500), but limited to three dependents. It also aims to address several challenges and gaps with payment of the current dependent stimulus, the main one being that it makes those dependents older than 17 entitled to these payments.
Additionally the bill expands coverage of stimulus checks to immigrants with taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) for the standard and dependent payment under this bill.
While House and Senate Republicans don’t currently support another stimulus check package or payment, the White House has indicated the President would likely be supportive of another stimulus check payment later this summer as evidenced by the following statement:
“As President Trump has said, we are going to ensure that we take care of all Americans so that we emerge from this challenge healthy, stronger, and with economic prosperity, which is why the White House is focused on pro-growth, middle class tax and regulatory relief.”White House Press Release (via CNBC)
The HEROES act also extends two other major provisions for individuals passed under the earlier CARES stimulus bill. The first is an extension of the $600 per week extra unemployment payment (FPUC) through to January 2021 (the current FPUC/PUA provision approved in March is set to expire at the end of July). The second major individual provision is to boost the maximum SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) payment benefit by 15%. This is designed to help low income earners deal with the rising cost of food as a result of supply chain disruption and production shortages.
New individual/worker focused provisions proposed include canceling up to $10,000 for some federal and private loan holders. Another big one is establishment of a $200 billion “Heroes’ Fund” to provide hazard pay to some essential workers. This would come in the form of a $13 per hour pay premium on top of their regular pay for “all hours worked in essential industries through the end of 2020,” up to $25,000 for essential workers earning less than $200,000 per year and up to $5,000 for workers earning more than $200,000 per year.
The $3 Trillion HEROES relief bill and included provisions will likely go through a lot of debates and changes due to strong opposition from moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who worry about the ballooning federal deficit.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell scoffed at the $3 trillion relief bill calling it a “parade of absurdities.” But he did add that “another bill probably is going to be necessary….”
But if the economy does not improve and unemployment does not fall or there is a significant resurgence of the Coronavirus later this year then it seems almost certain a second stimulus package and check bill will be passed. I will post updates as they come to light.