After nearly a week of inter-party stimulus check 2 talks that have left lawmakers and White House negotiators far apart on the proposed HEALS Act package, President Trump may be looking for options to take action on his own.
The Washington Post (opens in new tab) reports that the Trump administration is considering "unilateral action" in the face of stalled debate over a second round of coronavirus economic relief.
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It's not clear how the president could actually spend any extra money without congressional approval, or how serious the administration is about this step to speed up the stimulus check 2 date.
However, two White House outside economic advisors recently suggested in The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) that declaring a "national economic emergency" and suspending federal payroll taxes that deduct 7.5% of wages and salaries could be one avenue for getting around negotiations with lawmakers.
In the meantime, Senate Republicans, House Democrats and the White House remain at odds (opens in new tab) over whether and how to continue federal unemployment assistance.
The $600-per-week boost provided under the CARES Act since earlier this spring expired last week, leaving millions of out-of-work Americans without a $2,400 monthly supplement for covering rent and other expenses.
Latest unemployment benefits news
Lawmakers on both sides have proposed a continuation of federal unemployment benefits but disagree on the details. The Senate's HEALS Act, unveiled in mid-July, would pay $200 per week on top of state unemployment, but only for two months.
In the meantime, states would be expected to implement a system that pays out benefits up to 70% of workers' pre-unemployment pay, after which the federal supplement would phase out.
Other Republican senators have suggested a more gradual wind-down of federal unemployment: $500 per week in August, $400 per week in September and $300 per week in October, or states could replace up to 80% of workers' previous income. And the White House has floated a one-week $600 extension.
Democrats have pushed for ongoing $600-per-week benefits, which Republicans say is too expensive and pays people to stay home instead of returning to work.
Stimulus check 2 status and eligibility
What all parties do agree on are the details for stimulus check 2. The HEALS Act would send another round of direct payments to Americans (whether or not they're unemployed) who received benefits under the CARES Act.
The proposal uses the same formula, meaning single people earning less than $75,000 per year and married individuals making less than $150,000 would get $1,200 checks. Benefits decline for those making closer $99,000 and $198,000 per year, respectively.
The one difference is for those who claim dependents. The HEALS Act actually expands the $500-per-person benefits to include college students and dependent adults, so families who claim dependents may actually get more money with stimulus check 2.
The House's HEROES Act, which cleared that chamber in May but has not been taken up by the Senate, would give a dependent of any age $1,200.
You can use this stimulus check 2 calculator to find out how much you'd get.
Of course, Americans won't see any benefits until lawmakers agree on a stimulus package and President Trump signs it. The Senate is scheduled to recess after this week (beginning Aug. 10), so unless something is figured out this week, new stimulus and unemployment payments may not arrive until after Labor Day.