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When will a deal be done for a second stimulus check?


Sarah Tew/CNET

After weeks of people waiting for any news on a second stimulus check, the Senate returns to work on Monday to begin debating the benefits and finer details — if it’ll happen, how much you might get, what the requirements will be to qualify. Finding common ground between the White House, Senate and House of Representatives on a new rescue bill could still take weeks. We have some clues about when the money could actually head your way, assuming a new payment comes to be.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sketched out his timeline on Tuesday.”We go back in session next week and in the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll be laying out in the Senate another package,” he said. “We are looking at another direct payment.”

“We can’t go home without [new legislation],” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Bloomberg Television on Thursday, noting it’s been two months since the Democrat-led House passed its Heroes Act without Senate action. “More people have died. More people have gone on unemployment. And more people have been infected,” Pelosi said. “What’s the value in [the Republicans’] waiting?”

So what kind of payment schedule are we talking about? We broke down some critical dates from the Senate’s calendar and used the first stimulus check as a model to estimate a potential window that the IRS could start sending a second check. 

We also forecast what could happen if the Senate can’t come together on a new relief act before its next recess. This story updates frequently with new information. 

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Congress is expected to start work soon on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that may put another $1,200 in your wallet.


Angela Lang/CNET

Senate has 3 weeks to make a stimulus check decision

Today is the final day of a planned Senate recess that began on Friday, July 3, which means that Monday, July 20 is the first day session resumes.

“As soon as the Senate gets back [from its current break], we are going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on July 9. He added that it will be a priority for the next legislation to be passed between July 20 and the end of the month. In prepared remarks before a House committee on July 17, the Secretary repeated the timeline: “We will be having bipartisan conversations about supplemental relief legislation and hope Congress will pass an additional package by the end of this month.”


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But the Senate then has another recess starting Aug. 7, giving McConnell and his fellow legislators three work weeks to build, debate, negotiate and pass another stimulus package before the last day of its session.

What happens if the Senate misses its deadline?

Whether or not the Senate passes a new rescue package before its planned August recess, the Senate will not work past Aug. 7, McConnell said June 30. Pelosi, however, cautioned that Congress can’t take another break without passing a new rescue package. “Because of the unemployment insurance expiring,” she said on Thursday, “we have to have that legislation.”

Senate timeline for making a stimulus check decision

Dates Senate action
July 20 – Aug. 7 In session. The Senate is not expected to work past Aug. 7.
Aug. 10 – Sept. 7 August recess.
Sept. 8 – Sept. 25 In session. If the Senate doesn’t pass a bill by Aug. 7, this is the next period it will have to work on a stimulus package.
Sept. 28 – 29 September recess.
Sept. 30 – Oct. 9 In session. If the Senate still hasn’t passed a bill, this is its last chance before the general election on Nov. 3.

Why? Because the Senate’s August recess runs from Aug. 10 through Sept. 7 (Labor Day), which means there are 32 days from the last date of the Senate session (Aug. 7) until the first day of the following session (Sept. 8). If there’s no bill passed by Aug. 7, it won’t get picked up again until then. The September session runs through Sept. 25.

When could the IRS send a second stimulus payment?

It’s still possible for the IRS to start sending checks in August, if the House and Senate do give a second round of stimulus checks the green light by the end of July. 

For reference, the president signed the CARES Act into law on March 27 and the first stimulus payments went out less than three weeks later, on April 15. 

For the purpose of speculation, let’s say that a new stimulus act becomes law on Friday, Aug. 7. Following the CARES Act timeline, the first checks could go out by Aug. 26.

It’s plausible, however, that the IRS could move even faster to send out the first wave of stimulus checks, since it already has the mechanism in place from the first batch, including a tool for people to sign up for direct deposit and track their payments

Factors like how many people would qualify for a payment the second time around could play a role in slowing down or speeding up this timeline.

What’s the final date I could receive a second stimulus check?

While we don’t know anything official — and won’t until another rescue package is official — we can draw on the experience of the first stimulus checks as a potential blueprint. 

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is nearly 330 million people, according to the Census Bureau.) 

The majority of those were sent by the beginning of June, though the IRS said it will continue to disburse the final batches through the end of the year. If there are fewer people receiving a second stimulus check, it’s possible that it won’t take as long to send a second round of checks.

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Even with some businesses starting to open, the US has a staggeringly high unemployment rate.


Angela Lang/CNET

What will it take to get a second stimulus check?

For now, we wait. To receive a second check, the proposed rescue package would need to pass both the House and the Senate before receiving a signature from the president. Only then could it take effect. 

After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks. But it could still be weeks more before you receive a payment.

If you’re still waiting on the first round of coronavirus payments, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your no-show check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived.

Here are even more resources about coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments and how to take control of your budget.

source: cnet.com

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