Millions of Americans have lost their jobs to COVID-19, while many of those who are still working have seen their hours -- and income -- reduced. Things got so bad back in March that lawmakers passed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which called for, among other provisions, a one-time $1,200 stimulus payment for eligible U.S. adults plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17.
Many people have already received -- and spent -- their stimulus cash, and with unemployment numbers still at a record high, lawmakers are pushing for a second stimulus package to provide some much-needed relief. Enter the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion bill which calls for an even more robust stimulus than the initial one that went out.
Under the HEROES Act, stimulus payments will be worth up to $1,200 per qualifying adult, plus up to $1,200 per qualifying child, for a maximum of three children per household. As such, some families might see a $6,000 check if the HEROES Act is voted into law.
Whether that actually happens, though, is very much up for debate. Republican lawmakers have been voicing their opposition to the HEROES Act (which was introduced by Democrats), citing cost issues as a major concern. Furthermore, some lawmakers feel that a second stimulus payment just isn't necessary.
But even if a second stimulus package is approved, Americans may need to gear up for the fact that it will be the last lump sum dose of relief they received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressly stated that the next stimulus payment Americans collect will be the last one.
When will the HEROES Act be voted on?
Right now, there's no specific date that's been set for a vote on the HEROES Act. Different timelines have been thrown around that include late June or early July. But Republicans have made it clear that they oppose the HEROES Act in its current form, so even if there is a second stimulus payment, it may not end up being as robust as desperate Americans would like it to be. That's problematic, because data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average U.S. household spends $5,102 a month on living expenses, and while some of that includes discretionary spending, it's clear that more stimulus money is needed to help long-term out-of-work Americans avoid massive levels of debt.
Don't bank on tons of stimulus cash
Chances are, there will be some amount of follow-up stimulus money that Americans will be entitled to this year. But whether that second round is more or less generous than the first is still up in the air. Even if that second payment does come through, Americans need to prepare for the fact that it may be the only additional relief they get throughout the pandemic -- a crisis that could drag on well into the coming year, and possibly even beyond.