While millions of Americans are still waiting for their first economic impact payment, some congressional Democrats are looking to authorize a second round of stimulus checks — this time with expanded benefits for families. If passed, House Democrats' new stimulus check proposal would see eligible families receive up to $6,000. But fierce opposition from Senate Republicans may mean families never see another round of stimulus payments.
House Democrats unveiled a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package Tuesday that included plans for what they've called "a second round of more substantial economic impact payments" in a House Appropriations Committee fact sheet. Similar to the CARES Act passed in March, House Democrats' new bill would see individuals who earn less than $75,000 receive a $1,200 stimulus check. Married couples who earn less than $150,000 would receive a combined $2,400.
But where the CARES Act provided $500 for child dependents under the age of 17, Democrats' new bill would increase that to $1,200 and expand eligibility to include all minor and adult dependents. Families would receive payments for a maximum of three dependents, meaning an eligible family of five could receive the maximum stimulus payment of $6,000. An eligible family of six would also receive the maximum payment of $6,000, while a family of four would receive $4,800.
"There are those who said, 'Let's just pause,'" Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday — in a reference to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's call to "push the pause button" on additional coronavirus relief — when announcing House Democrats' plans to introduce the HEROES Act. "The families who are suffering know that hunger doesn't take a pause. The rent doesn't take a pause. The bills don't take a pause. The hardship of losing a job or tragically losing a loved one doesn't take a pause."
If passed, House Democrats' new relief package would also establish a hazard pay fund for essential workers and extend the weekly $600 federal unemployment payments, which are currently set to end in July, to January.
But Senate Republicans have been quick to dismiss the legislation. "We're hearing that House Democrats are cobbling together another big laundry list of pet priorities," McConnell said Tuesday while speaking on the Senate floor. "Even the media is describing it as a partisan wishlist with no chance of becoming law."
Michael Zona, a spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, dismissed the relief package as "a partisan, left wing wishlist unrelated to the ongoing public health or economic crisis that is DOA in the Senate" in a tweet posted Tuesday.
While the House is expected to vote Friday on the HEROES Act, it is unclear if the bill will ever come before the Senate for a vote in its current form — meaning that although Congress continues to discuss a second round of stimulus payments, no family should count on receiving one just yet.
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