Stimulus Checks Could Go Out As Soon As Wednesday

If you qualify for a second stimulus check, you won’t have to wait long. 

According to a Tuesday tweet from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the distribution process will begin “as early as tonight,” which means some people may wake up with $600 more dollars in their bank account on Wednesday. 

To track the status of your check, visit the IRS’ “Get My Payment” tool.

“This second round of payments will be distributed automatically, with no action required for eligible individuals. If additional legislation is enacted to provide for an increased amount, Economic Impact Payments that have been issued will be topped up as quickly as possible,” the Treasury Department said in a Tuesday statement.

The second round of stimulus checks included in the $900 billion relief bill Congress recently passed will be distributed entirely by the middle of January. The IRS will send physical checks every week to the estimated 10 million Americans who have not filed their bank information with the IRS.

As the bill stands, the stimulus checks will be $600 for single filers and $600 for each child dependent. An amendment to increase the amount to $2,000 is on hold in the Senate. If the provision passes, expect to receive another check with the difference.

The House passed the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act on Monday. The CASH Act is a standalone measure to raise the amount of the stimulus checks and broaden the criteria so dependents of any age can qualify for the benefit. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for an anonymous consent vote the next day. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was quick to block Schumer’s move. Instead, he proposed a measure that incorporates the $2,000 payments in a bill to repeal Section 230, which protects internet platforms from liabilities stemming from user-generated content. 

In response, Schumer said in a Tuesday statement, “Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them. If Sen. McConnell tries loading up the bipartisan House-passed CASH Act with unrelated, partisan provisions that will do absolutely nothing to help struggling families.”

Republicans opposing the checks have cited concerns over the deficit and effectiveness of the provision. McConnell’s decision to block the measure occurs despite mounting pressure from other GOP members to increase the checks’ amount. 

Many speculate that the move will negatively affect the special election in Georgia, where Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are up for re-election in one week. If Perdue and Loeffler lose, the Republicans will lose control of the Senate. 

Perdue and Loeffler both support legislation to raise the size of the direct payments to $2,000. Other prominent Republicans such as Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have also pushed for the increase.

“I am concerned about the debt, but working families have been hurt badly by the pandemic,” Rubio tweeted on December 28. “This is why I supported $600 direct payments to working families & if given the chance will vote to increase the amount.”

As of Wednesday, Senators have just five working days left to make a decision. The Senate delay has angered President Trump, who criticized Republican lawmakers in a Tuesday tweet, where he said, “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!”

Following McConnell’s move, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VA) announced that they would obstruct a $740 billion defense bill unless McConnell and other Republicans permit a Senate vote.

Senator and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris (D-CA), who joined Sanders and Markey to introduce recurring $2,000 payments in May, promised to overturn President Trump’s veto of the yearly defense bill unless McConnel lets the Senate vote.

On Monday evening, Market promised to participate in Sander’s filibuster, pointing out that 44 GOP House members approved the $1,400 increase earlier that day. 

“I will be joining @BernieSanders in blocking the defense bill until we get a vote on $2000 in direct cash relief,” he said in a tweet. “That relief passed in the House today with 44 Republicans voting for it. Senate Republicans must do the same and get the American people the help they need.”

For the measure to pass, it will need the support of 60 Senators, which will require affirmative votes from all 48 Democrats and 12 Republicans. In a statement to Politico, Sanders expressed hope for a Senate vote on Wednesday.

 

Sources
  • Edmondson, Catie. “McConnell Blocks Vote on $2,000 Checks Despite G.O.P. Pressure.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Dec. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/12/29/us/politics/mcconnell-blocks-stimulus-check-vote.html.
  • Kail, Benjamin. “Markey, Sanders to Block Defense Bill until GOP Allows Vote on $2,000 Stimulus Checks.” Masslive, 29 Dec. 2020, www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/12/second-stimulus-check-update-ed-markey-bernie-sanders-threaten-to-block-defense-bill-until-republicans-allow-vote-on-2000-covid-payments.html.
  • Tsekova, Denitsa. “$600 Stimulus Checks Arriving ‘as Early as Tonight’ While Increase to $2,000 Stalls in Senate.” Yahoo!, Yahoo!, 30 Dec. 2020, money.yahoo.com/stimulus-checks-on-way-irs-001705641.html.

 

Ian Schindler