Second stimulus check might not be $1,200. Would you get more or less? The story so far

Should we expect a new payment if Congress passes a second stimulus package this summer?

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After the Senate returns from recess Monday, it will debate the ins and outs of an additional coronavirus relief bill, including a possible second stimulus check — for those who qualify. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said once the chamber is in back in session, “we’ll come together behind [another stimulus] package,” adding “all of that will be revealed in the next week or two.” On Tuesday, McConnell confirmed “we are looking at another direct payment.” The question is, how big a payment.

The first stimulus package, which was approved in March, was worth $3 trillion and sent each person who met the requirements up to $1,200 apiece and a maximum of $6,000 for families. There have been hints that the next stimulus check won’t be as large as the first. On the other side of the coin, other outspoken figures in Washington — including President Donald Trump — have called for it to be larger. It all depends on the size of another total relief package and how Congress will portion out that money. 

Read on for what we’re hearing from the Senate, House of Representative and the White House about the next relief check. And here’s more information on when we think Washington will reach a decision and who might qualify for a second stimulus check if a new economic bill passes.

Warning: A second stimulus check could be smaller

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on July 10 that a second stimulus check will be smaller than the first, according to Fox Business. That aligns with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, who has indicated that the next stimulus package would have a $1 trillion cap, but runs contrary to the president’s stated wish for a larger check.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and Speaker of the House, disagrees.

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“A trillion dollars is, OK, that’s 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] testing, tracing, treatment,” she said. “What doesn’t measure up is, ‘Oh, it can only be a trillion dollars.””

The final figure is anything but decided and the tides could turn. For the last two months, proposals have surfaced over how big a second stimulus check should be, ranging from a single $1,200 payment up to $2,000 a month through the end of the pandemic.

How much money could a second stimulus check get you?

Washington leaders are talking about these possible stimulus figures for individuals:

These figures represent the maximum sum we’ve heard. As with the first stimulus check, it’s almost certain that Congress will include eligibility restrictions based on how much money you make annually, your age, the number of dependents you have and your US citizenship or residency status.

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What does President Trump and his administration say about a second stimulus check?

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

“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats,” the president said July 1, referring to the $1,200-per-person amount the Democrat-led House of Representatives 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.

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The president said he supports another round of direct payments.

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National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow echoed the president’s support, telling Fox Business last week, “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.”

Further, Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell made the case for more stimulus money in prepared remarks before the House committee on Financial Services 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’s view: A smaller second stimulus check

“I’ll be unveiling something, which will be a starting place, in a few weeks,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said July 6 about a new stimulus package. And a new payment for individuals and families “could well be part of it,” he added. In fact, we picked through the Senate calendar to get a good idea of its timeline.

And while the Senate has not offered many specifics on what it will include in its proposal, McConnell has been clear what it won’t offer. 

“I can’t tell you what the amount is likely to be at this point, but it won’t be $3 trillion,” McConnell said late last month. McConnell also proposed setting a $40,000 income ceiling to qualify for a check. “I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry,” he said

Here’s what we know about who might qualify for a second check.

McConnell had previously stressed that the focus of another bill will be narrow and, if approved, will be the last. Republican senators are focused on including incentives to bring people back to work.


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

A $1,200 one-time payment from the House’s Heroes Act?

The Democrat-led House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not passed 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 coronavirus 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 (ITIN) instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.

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

Second stimulus check: What comes next?

It’s July, which puts us on the month-long deadline McConnell set for the Senate to decide on a second stimulus check. The House passed its Heroes Bill in May. With the Senate on a planned break till July 20, McConnell and the Republican-led Senate will have three weeks until Aug. 7 to craft its own stimulus package, if it does decide to move forward.

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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