Next coronavirus stimulus checks: who would qualify?

We are likely now just days away from the second coronavirus stimulus check announcement. Still there no details, including how much it could be and who would qualify. There are reports lately that the next coronavirus stimulus checks would be targeted and those with an income of $40,000 or less would qualify.

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Who may qualify for coronavirus stimulus checks?

The speculations regarding the $40,000 cut-off were triggered after comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell, last week, noted that the coronavirus pandemic had hit hard those earning $40,000 or less. He also suggested that the next stimulus checks would be targeted.

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"The people that I think have been hit the hardest during this whole episode have been people making $40,000 a year or less,” McConnell said, adding that many of them work in the hospitality industry.

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked about who would qualify for the next coronavirus stimulus checks, he did not give a clear answer. However, he did say that they do support another round of stimulus checks.

“I'm not gonna go into the specific details today on that, but what I would say is we do support another round of economic impact payments," Mnuchin told CNBC last week. "The level and the criteria we'll be discussing with the Senate...”

Mnuchin assured that it is their “priority” to pass the next legislation “between the 20th and the end of the month.”

Pelosi does not support this cut-off

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the other hand, rejected speculations of giving stimulus checks to only those making $40,000 or less annually. Pelosi said she is not aware where the idea of focusing direct payments on just low-income people came from.

“I think there are many families, depending on the size of family, and so many different things, that the $40,000 would have to be explained, justified, and the rest,” Pelosi said at a weekly news conference.

Pelosi said she feels those making more than $40,000 may also need assistance “depending on their family situation.”

In May, Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell noted that workers making less than $40,000 have been hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Powell said: “Among people who were working in February, almost 40% of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March.”

At the time, Pelosi seized on Powell’s comments, arguing "not acting is the most expensive course.”

Separately, Pelosi also rejected the calls of limiting the next coronavirus relief package to $1 trillion. The House Speaker said the Congress would need to approve at least double that given the surge in the number of cases.

"A trillion dollars is OK, that’s an interesting starting point. But that doesn’t come anywhere near," Pelosi said. The House Democrats already passed their own $3 trillion package in mid-May. However, the Senate so far has ignored it.

Pelosi noted that a trillion dollars are needed just for aid to the state and local governments. Another trillion dollars are needed for unemployment insurance, and direct payments, she said.