Is a second round of Coronavirus stimulus checks coming?

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Talk about a second round of Cronavirus stimulus checks continues to swirl. It’s sounding more and more like lawmakers will take another route with the phase four stimulus package, but that doesn’t mean a second round of stimulus checks is totally out of the question.

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Will a second round of Coronavirus stimulus checks come?

In an interview with Nexstar Broadcasting this week, President Donald Trump said they were working on "something that's going to be very dramatic" for the phase four stimulus package. He made the remark in response to a pointed question about whether people should expect a second round of stimulus checks this summer.

Trump noted that the economy is "really starting to roar." He didn't go into many details about what might be included in the phase four stimulus package or even whether they are definitely considering a second round of checks for the general public.

However, we have heard White House advisers talk about the possibility of an infrastructure spending bill and targeted assistance to drive increases in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Other possibilities for the phase four stimulus package include a tax credit that can be used for domestic travel, a payroll tax cut, and other provisions.

Argument against more stimulus

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is arguing against doing any more stimulus at all. He told Yahoo Finance that he believes the focus of future efforts should be getting Americans back to work. He said he would hesitate to support any stimulus package that could delay the reopening of the nation's economy.

He has also been skeptical of Democrats' attempts to renew some provisions set down in the CARES Act earlier this year, such as a second round of Coronavirus stimulus checks and an extension of the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits. He said it isn't clear to him that "we need to load the money cannon and fire that off again."

He added that he's not interested in more "demand-side stimulus." For example, he noted that retirees didn't see a reduction in their income from the pandemic, but they still received stimulus checks in the first round.

Toomey also pointed out that there is no free lunch, so whatever the phase four stimulus package looks like, it will come with a price. He noted that everything will be paid for with either borrowed money or created money. He emphasized that the most important thing is to get the economy back open.

Will there be a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks?

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As record numbers of Americans are unemployed due to the pandemic, many are wondering if there will be a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. As it turns out, there is reason for hope, but there are also reasons not to expect a second round.

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Why there could be a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks

White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett told reporters on Tuesday that the Trump administration is "studying very carefully" whether a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks will be needed. He also said a fourth COVID-19 relief package seems likely, and it could include more stimulus payments for Americans.

Hassett's remark is particularly meaningful because he is the first Republican to suggest there could be a second round. Previous comments and efforts have all come from Democrats. Some Democrats are even proposing monthly stimulus payments of $2,000 for at least six months.

Arguments for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks are certainly being made. Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN Money reports that monthly spending on food averages $660 for Americans. The average monthly housing payment is almost $1,700. Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic hit home, so it seems pretty clear that more stimulus will be needed.

A survey conducted by Simply Wise found that  63% of Americans will need another stimulus check within the next three months. The same survey found that 15% of Americans will need another check within the next two weeks. Additionally, a MONEY poll found that the first stimulus check wasn't enough for 60% of respondents.

Why there might not be more payments

Unfortunately, it's expected to take 20 weeks for all Americans to receive their economic impact payments. The House Ways and Means Committee said in a memo that the IRS can process just 5 million paper checks per week. Thus, that timeline is certainly a factor in whether there will be a second round of checks or not.

Another problem that's delaying work on additional stimulus payments is the fact that Congress' recess has been extended to May 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives and Senators must vote in person, which means they can't pass any legislation until they are able to meet in person.

Further, President Trump said he is more interested in enacting payroll tax cuts instead of a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. He said such a plan would be an incentive for people to get back to work because they would be able to keep more of the money they make. However, a payroll tax cut may not get much support among lawmakers because it only helps those who are working. Given that millions of Americans are out of work, it would do nothing to help those who need the money the most.

Another source for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks

There is a possibility that the federal government won't be the source of a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. State and local governments could decide to send payments to their residents. Jacksonville, Fla. is already using some of the stimulus money it received from the federal government to provide stimulus checks for its residents.

According to Forbes, the CARES Act, which provided funding for the first round of economic impact payments, also included money for state and local governments to cover expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such expenses can include things like coronavirus testing, but it can also "expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures." It's under that section of the bill that Jacksonville is providing its own stimulus payments.

It's unclear whether any other state or local governments will follow suit, but the provision is there. Until any announcements or official moves are made, we will just have to wait and see whether there will be any additional stimulus money for Americans.