While some are still waiting to receive their economic stimulus check, many eligible U.S. taxpayers have already cashed and spent theirs. But as the coronavirus pandemic carries on, business remain closed, and bills for the month of May come in, will there be a second stimulus check coming your way? While both the White House and members of Congress have said they're at least open to the idea, a second stimulus check is unlikely to come anytime soon.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), at least 89.5 million individuals have received their economic stimulus payment so far. But for many, the one-time cash payment of $1,200 isn't expected to go very far. In fact, a survey conduced by Bankrate found that 31% of Americans did not believe their stimulus check would cover even one full month of bills. Another 64% said the payment would cover less than three months of expenses. But while the need for a second check is arguably there, neither Congress nor the White House have confirmed a second stimulus check.
That being said, the idea of sending eligible Americans a second stimulus check hasn't been completely ruled out. Speaking to reporters in early April, President Donald Trump also signaled a willingness to sign off on sending those eligible a second stimulus payment. "We could very well do a second round of direct [payments]," Trump said during an April 6 news conference, Reuters reported. "It is absolutely under serious consideration."
A few weeks later, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett echoed a similar message in comments to reporters when asked about the likelihood of a second stimulus payment. "I think that that's something we're studying very carefully," Hassett said April 28 of the Trump administration, according to the Washington Post. "I know that people in the House are as well. I expect that it's very likely there will be a Phase 4 deal, and we're going to be speaking with the president throughout the week about what he thinks should be in there."
Members of Congress have also expressed a willingness to approve not just another round of stimulus payments but reoccurring monthly payments. Reps. Ro Khanna and Tim Ryan introduced the Emergency Money for the People Act in mid-April. If passed, it would guarantee at least six months of reoccurring monthly payments of $2,000 to anyone earning less than $130,000.
Its introduction to the House came roughly a week after The Hill reported that more than 50 House Democrats had signed a letter urging their fellow members of Congress to include monthly stimulus payments in the fourth coronavirus response bill.
Yet by early May, as some governors looked at reopening their states, Hassett appeared to have pivoted away from the idea of a possible second stimulus payment and continued coronavirus relief. "I think right now, because there's been good news really, that the opening up is starting to happen faster than we expected, appears to be doing so safely, then there is a chance that we won't really need a phase four," Hassett told Fox News in a May 2 interview, CNN reported.
Additionally, a number of Republican members of Congress have expressed a desire to wait and see what happens once all eligible individuals have received their economic stimulus payment before discussing a second. Some Republican senators have also hinted at a total opposition to approving a second check.
"The real stimulus that's going to change the trajectory that we're on is going to be the economy, not government checks," Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a virtual town hall, according to The Hill. "So I doubt there will be another payment."
While Congress may, in the end, opt to include a second stimulus payment in any future coronavirus relief package it passes, it will likely take weeks for any such bill to make its way through Congress and onto the president's desk. So, although debate over another stimulus check continues, one thing remains clear: It's highly unlikely anyone will see a second stimulus check in the immediate future.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.