Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said second stimulus checks “could well” be in the next stimulus package.
Here’s what you need to know.
Second Stimulus Checks and More
In three press conferences today in Kentucky, McConnell shared what he thinks will be included in the next stimulus package, including the potential for second stimulus checks. McConnell said he expects the next stimulus bill to be finalized this month, and it will be focused on reopening the economy and creating jobs. If this timetable holds, this means that second stimulus checks could be sent as early as August. Here is what McConnell thinks will be in the next stimulus bill:
- Second Stimulus Checks: McConnell said that Americans “could well” receive a second stimulus check. This is a new position for McConnell, who previously opposed second stimulus checks. President Donald Trump has called for a second round of stimulus checks, and Trump may sway Senate Republicans to include second stimulus checks in the stimulus package.
- Who Gets A Second Stimulus Check: Not everyone may receive a second stimulus check, however. McConnell did not discuss the eligibility criteria, but he did reference that Americans earning $40,000 or less a year, especially in the hospitality industry, have been hit hardest. The first stimulus check was available for Americans with an adjusted gross income of less than $99,000 for individuals. Will a second stimulus check be only for Americans earning $40,000 or less? McConnell didn’t specify, but he did reference this threshold, which could suggest a more targeted and limited second stimulus check. This is similar to what White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Fox Business. Kudlow said that second stimulus checks could focus on those who lost their jobs and need the most financial assistance. Many Senate Republicans have opposed a second stimulus check, and believe it doesn’t help stimulate the economy, may help individuals not impacted directly by Covid-19, and it adds to the national debt.
- Liability Protection: McConnell reiterated the need for liability protection from Covid-19 lawsuits for businesses, including hospitals and schools. This could be a five-year liability protection retroactive to 2019 through 2024.
- State and Local Funding: Democrats and Republicans may find common ground in sending federal aid to states and localities. This will be particularly essential for states hit hard from the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Wear A Mask: McConnell said the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your friends is to wear a mask. McConnell said that if you don’t want the economy to close, wear a mask.
- Final Stimulus: Don’t expect any more stimulus after this stimulus package. McConnell said this is the last stimulus bill, citing the high federal debt.
McConnell is still pushing for a stimulus package that is close to $1 trillion, which is far smaller than the Heroes Act, the $3 trillion stimulus package passed by House Democrats. If second stimulus checks are targeted to a lower income threshold, such as $40,000 or less, this would provide more roof for additional, high-priority economic stimuli such as a payroll tax cut, a return-to-work bonus, a $4,000 travel credit and an infrastructure plan, among others incentives to create more manufacturing jobs. That said, McConnell says he is focused on the economy, jobs, healthcare and opening schools. McConnell does not appear to be focused on student loans or student loan forgiveness for the next stimulus. The next stimulus bill with be drafted by Senate Republicans and the White House, with some input from Senate Democrats. Congress may vote on the next stimulus bill before leaving for summer recess on August 7.