When second stimulus checks could arrive if Congress reaches a deal

The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look like they’re on the cusp of making an economic-aid deal that would send Americans a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

“I think we’re just about there,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

If the White House and Democratic leaders reach a deal, they’d then face an uphill battle to convince Senate Republicans—who are less eager to pass a stimulus package in the $2 trillion ballpark—to support it. But even then, Pelosi said Thursday, she’s not sure it could be signed into law before the election.

Indeed, as Republican Senators voice qualms with the current negotations, arguing that the White House is conceding too much, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said only that he would bring a deal to the Senate floor “at some point,” which could very well come after the election.

If the last go-around is any indication, the first of the checks would start to be deposited within two weeks of the legislation passing. After the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act on March 27, Americans started to receive their stimulus checks as early as the week of April 13.

Simply put: We’ve likely reached the point where stimulus checks wouldn’t go out until after the election.

White House officials have suggested that the distribution of the checks could be sped up given the system is already in place—but even that has its limits. Back in the spring, millions of Americans, including those on Social Security, saw their checks delayed until they provided additional information. Since this payment would be based on the same tax year, it’s unlikely more information will need to be verified—at least among those who received their first round of payments.

Both parties support sending a second round of stimulus checks, which would be nearly identical to the first round. The direct payments sent in the spring were worth as much as $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, plus $500 for each qualifying child. That amount would decrease for adjusted gross income above $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per qualified couple. And the checks phase out for individuals earning above $99,000, head of household filers with one child above $146,500, and joint filers with no children at $198,000.

What’s holding up the next economic aid package? Earlier this week Democratic leaders were seeking an economic stimulus bill worth at least $2.2 trillion, while the White House was at $1.9 trillion. On Thursday, Pelosi said the two sides are closer now, however, she didn’t disclose the numbers.

Their main areas of disagreement—outside of the total package size—Pelosi said Thursday are on items like a steep increase in federal aid to state and local governments, which Democrats support, and COVID-19 lawsuit immunity for businesses, which Republicans support.

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