Lawmakers continue to debate whether there should be a round 2 of IRS stimulus checks to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus. The Democrat-led House of Representatives unveiled a new plan worth $3 trillion that would send checks of up to $6,000 to families. The big question is whether a round 2 of IRS stimulus checks will pass the Republican-led Senate — and President Trump’s desk.
Here's the proposed round 2 of IRS stimulus checks
The Democrats' new plan is called the HEROES Act. Like the CARES Act, which sent the first round of coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans, the HEROES Act would send payments of up to $1,200 to individuals and $2,400 to couples.
Unlike the CARES Act, the new bill would include $1,200 payments or dependents. The CARES Act only covered children under age 17, and the payment for children was $500 each. The Democrats' plan for round 2 of IRS stimulus checks also includes dependents of all ages, including adult children who are in school and up to 24 years old and other dependents.
The income amounts in the new bill are similar to those in the CARES Act. The payments start to phase out at $75,000 per individual or $150,000 for couples. The maximum families could receive under the bill would be $6,000.
Other provisions in the HEROES Act
The proposed bill also calls for more than just a round 2 of IRS stimulus checks. It would also extend the temporary increases in unemployment benefits that were established in the CARES Act. The $600 increase in unemployment benefits per week would be extended past July to January.
Unemployment benefits for self-employed workers, independent contractors and others who aren't usually eligible would be extended through March. The provision established in the CARES Act currently expires at the end of December.
The HEROES Act would also set up a $200 billion fund that would provide hazard pay to workers who have been deemed essential and have continued to work through the pandemic. This is a new provision that wasn't included in any of the first four phases of economic stimulus.
The bill also addresses one other area Democrats have been wanting to address: state and local governments. The HEROES Act would send almost $1 trillion to local, state, tribal and territorial governments, which have been dealing with major tax revenue shortfalls due to the lockdowns and closures of non-essential businesses.
It would also earmark an additional $75 billion for coronavirus testing, isolation measures and contact tracing. The bill also calls for free treatment for those who become ill with COVID-19. The HEROES Act also increases the maximum food stamp benefit 15% and provides $175 billion to homeowners and renters who lose their employer-provided health insurance.
Trump calls round 2 of IRS stimulus checks "DOA"
Even though round 2 of IRS stimulus checks is expected to pass the House when it votes on it Friday, it seems unlikely that it will pass the Republican-led Senate. Approximately one-third of the massive $3 trillion relief package would go to local, state and tribal governments, which many Republicans have said they do not support.
The expansion of the extra $600 per week for unemployment is also unlikely to pass a Republican vote. They support capping the extra payment at the amount workers would normally receive if they were working. The reason is because Republicans don't want to reward people for refusing to return to work as the economy starts to reopen.
Even if the HEROES Act does pass the Senate, President Trump described it as "DOA. Dead on arrival" during a press briefing on Wednesday.