Americans want to know if there will be a second stimulus check. President Donald Trump says there will be, but that’s no guarantee. The phase four stimulus package must first pass both houses of Congress before it lands on his desk for a signature.
White House supports second stimulus check
In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House supports a second stimulus check for the American public. However, he declined to provide any further details.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said people earning $40,000 and less have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. That led to speculations that the second round of stimulus checks could go to people earning no more than $40,000.
However, it's still too early to tell if that's the case. Mnuchin told CNBC that they will be discussing the amount of the check and the eligibility criteria with the Senate as they work out the details of the next federal stimulus package.
Targeting low-income households
Federal Reserve data indicates that 40% of households earning less than $40,000 a year lost their jobs in March. That demonstrates that those in the lower-income bracket are indeed being squeezed the hardest by the fallout from the pandemic.
One problem is that some low-income households have turned out to be hard to reach, CNBC noted. Those who don't file taxes or receive federal benefits might not be on the federal government's radar. As a result, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warned that 12 million people are still at risk of not receiving their first stimulus check.
An analyst with the organization told CNBC that it is right to target the lowest-income households, but it's important to make sure they are actually able to receive their payments.
Aside from a second stimulus check
The White House reportedly wants to keep the price tag on the next stimulus bill at $1 trillion to calm Republicans who are worried about the soaring federal deficit. As a result, a second stimulus check may or may not make the cut. Targeting the check at the lowest-income households could be one way to include it in a smaller $1 trillion package, but it won't be the only provision.
Other areas lawmakers will want to focus on include unemployment. Democrats want to extend the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits, but Republicans are concerned because the extra $600 caused many workers to be paid more not to work than they were paid on the job.
If unemployment is included in the next package, it might be a smaller amount of additional weekly benefit instead of the full $600.