Second stimulus check could arrive next week, White House says

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Americans can expect to see their second stimulus checks in their bank accounts as early as next week, assuming the relief package agreed to on Sunday is voted on by lawmakers Monday (Dec. 21) and signed by President Trump as planned. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Monday morning  that the turnaround time for this round of direct payments will be much shorter than for the first stimulus checks that trickled out over the spring and summer. 

"The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy," Mnuchin said. "Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week."

This means that eligible taxpayers should start to receive direct deposits before Jan. 1, with paper checks to follow for those who haven’t provided bank account information to the IRS. After Congress passed the CARES Act in March, more than two weeks went by before the government began processing payments, which went out in waves. 

Mnuchin has been saying for months that a second stimulus check would be delivered much more quickly than the first, presumably because the IRS has more information on file for those who are eligible for relief. 

How much will you get? 

The relief package that's up for approval would provide up to $600 per individual in a household, including children under age 17. While the bill is still being finalized, it reportedly would not include payments for adult dependents or children past their 17th birthdays. 

If the guidelines mirror the CARES Act, payments would be lower for those making more than $75,000 per year and phase out entirely for those making more than $99,000. 

Stimulus check 2 is just half of the $1,200 that eligible Americans received with the first direct payments more than six months ago. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate had wanted a second round of $1,200 checks, and even built them into the HEROES Act the House passed in May, but the Republican-controlled Senate balked at any second-stage relief bill that cost more than $1 trillion.

In the first half of December, as a bipartisan bill drafted by Senate moderates began to get approval from larger groups of lawmakers, both Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a self-described socialist, and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), a Trump loyalist, demanded that $1,200 checks be added to the bill. 

The bipartisan bill, which became the basis of the bill now up for votes today after it was split in two, had originally left out stimulus checks in order to fit below the Republicans' spending ceiling.

Last week, a group of left-leaning House Democrats went even further, urging $2,000 stimulus checks. Later in the week, President Trump reportedly had to be talked out of publicly demanding $2,000 checks by White House aides who feared he'd wreck the delicate negotiations over the stimulus bill. 

Emily Long

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.