Stimulus check 2 seemed like a possible solution to the continued setbacks of the pandemic just several weeks ago. But with May’s unemployment report hinting at economic improvement, a second round of the stimulus check looks uncertain.
With the Heroes Act in the hands of the Senate, the $3 trillion House bill that includes stimulus check 2 is subject to veto. Though some reports suggested it would be considered as the final stimulus legislation (opens in new tab), the news of the unemployment rate dropping 1.4 percent from April (opens in new tab) (with 2.5 million jobs added back to the 40 million lost since March (opens in new tab)) weakens the case for another round of payments for low-income Americans.
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When the House approved the Heroes Act on May 16 with a second stimulus check of up to $1,200 for every eligible person plus $1,200 for every dependent, several states still faced lockdowns and limitations. But now that every state is reopening in some capacity, including virus hotspot New York (opens in new tab), the future of stimulus check 2 is murky.
May’s unemployment improvement is already being used to undermine the necessity of the Heroes Act or any other massive stimulus bill. White House economic advisor Stephen Moore said (opens in new tab) that the, “sense of urgent crisis is very greatly dissipated by the report.”
Stephen Moore, economic adviser to the White House, on the jobs numbers: “It takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of any phase 4 -- we don't need it now. There's no reason to have a major spending bill. The sense of urgent crisis is very greatly dissipated by the report.”June 5, 2020
Along with stimulus check 2, the House’s bill proposed an extension for the $600 bonus to state unemployment benefits. Those federal-supported payments also appear in trouble based on the Senate’s suspected attitude towards the jobs report.
As such, the Senate might propose alternatives to the Heroes Act, or it could drop discussion about the bill entirely to focus on civil issues. Public discourse has in part shifted from social distancing and stimulus checks to racial injustice and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer on May 25 reignited the Black Lives Matter movement.
If the Senate does move to negotiate a second stimulus bill, it will likely wait until after July 4 and focus on support for specific industries. In an interview with Fox Business (opens in new tab). National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow discussed alternative stimulus initiatives like tax breaks for restaurants and sports arenas and payroll tax holidays for workers.
“I, myself, think we need to move from rescue and assistance to more long-term economic growth incentives," said Kudlow.
This comes as many are still asking where their first stimulus check is in the system. If that includes you, try using the IRS’s Get My Payment stimulus check app online or calling the IRS stimulus check phone number to speak to a representative. The USPS's Informed Delivery service provides stimulus check notifications, too, so you can know when your payment has arrived.
Check out our guide to stimulus check 2 for daily updates on the status of a second stimulus payment.