Second stimulus checks: Why $1,200 payments aren’t expected in August

National / World

U.S. Treasury checks are piled at the U.S. Treasury printing facility. (Photo Illustration by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Though it’s still possible lawmakers could cut a deal and distribute a second round of stimulus checks before the end of this month, the timeline appears highly unlikely.

That means millions of Americans eyeing a second $1,200 direct payment from the government will most likely have to wait until September. And whether or not a deal can be reached another check remains a big “if” at this point.

Amid a negotiation stalemate over a new coronavirus package, President Trump issued four executive orders over the weekend designed to provide temporary relief. The orders didn’t include checks because federal funds have to be authorities through legislation passed by Congress.

“The constitution mandates that only Congress has the power of the purse — the president cannot unilaterally tax and spend,” said Kris Cox, senior tax policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in an interview with CNBC.

This means it will take additional negotiations and a new law to get stimulus checks to Americans. Following Trump’s executive orders, negotiations between the White House and Democratic leadership came to a halt. Both sides would need to come back to the table, and Forbes reports Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff and a key GOP negotiator, is out of the office this week.

Even if a deal was quickly reached and approved next week, it would take the IRS two weeks to organize and begin distributing the funds. That would take the direct payment timeline to the final days of August.

And the likelihood a deal being reached next week doesn’t seem too strong.

The Associated Press reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are holding firm in their negotiations.

With many Republicans balking at more big government spending, Democrats are using their leverage to force Trump into a politically risky standoff over help for millions of Americans.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin told governors on Monday that passing congressional legislation remains the “first choice.”

Trump has said he’s still quite open to a deal with Congress.

President Trump wanted larger checks?

During a recent visit to west Texas, Trump hinted that a second round of stimulus checks could exceed the $1,200 payment amount issued in the first COVID-19 stimulus package.

When asked if $1,200 was enough, Trump said, “We’re going to see. It may go higher than that, actually.”

“I’d like to see it be very high because I love the people, I want the people to get it, you know, the economy is going to come back,” Trump continued. “We saved millions of lives, but now we’re bringing (the economy) back … We gotta take care of the people in the meantime.”

How much money would I have received?

Outside of the dependent payment, here’s how the GOP-backed payment proposal up to $1,200 broke down, according to CNBC:

  • Individuals earning a gross adjusted income of up to $75,000 per year in 2019 will receive a $1,200 payment.
  • Couples earning a gross adjusted income of up to $150,000 per year in 2019 will receive a $2,400 payment.
  • The checks will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in income, phasing out completely at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples.
  • Individuals with no income and individuals who rely on benefits such as Social Security are eligible for the full $1,200 payment

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