Now that the HEALS Act has been officially revealed, we’ve learned more about eligibility for the coronavirus stimulus checks and other provisions. Compared to the checks sent under the CARES Act in March, there is one major difference in the coronavirus stimulus checks that will be sent under the HEALS Act if it passes.
Key difference in HEALS Act's coronavirus stimulus checks
The coronavirus stimulus checks that would be sent under the HEALS Act will be $1,200 and go to individuals earning less than $75,000. Couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400.
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The payments phase out after those levels and end at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples. For heads of households, the maximum income level to receive the full $1,200 payment is $112,500 in adjusted gross income, and the payments phase out at $136,500.
The key difference between the CARES Act and the HEALS Act is that the coronavirus stimulus checks under the former bill sent $500 payments for dependents under age 17. Older dependents were excluded from the extra $500 payments, but the HEALS Act would send $500 payments to older dependents as well.
Including older dependents means many families could receive more money in the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. The HEALS Act also doesn't cap the number of dependents each family can claim.
According to CNBC, the Tax Foundation estimates that the change in the HEALS Act would mean at least 26 million people would be eligible for the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
Will the HEALS Act pass?
The good news for those hoping for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks is that both Republicans and Democrats appear to support the idea, as demonstrated by the HEALS Act. However, the package is far from a done deal, especially because divisions within the Republican party mean as many as half of the GOP might not even vote in favor of the bill.
Congress is on a tight timeline as the House of Representatives leaves for its August recess in a matter of days, and the Senate leaves a week later. Republican bickering continues to make headlines, although Bloomberg reports that negotiations between Republicans and Democrats have begun.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows are working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Meadows said he wouldn't characterize the negotiations as "getting closer," so progress on the bill appears to be very slow.
In order for the HEALS Act to get through Congress, the House will have to vote on it this week, which means it will have to pass the Senate in the next day or so. That's looking less and less likely, which means those hoping for the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks sent under the HEALS Act may be out of luck.
However, the good news is that if Democrats get on board with the HEALS Act after compromises between the two parties are made, it won't matter if half of Republicans vote against the bill in the Senate. The key question will be whether enough House Republicans will vote in favor of it.
For now, we just have to wait and see whether lawmakers will be able to get their act together and get something passed before their month-long August recess.