For weeks, Americans have been waiting for news on a second coronavirus stimulus check. Unfortunately for the millions of Americans in need of more COVID-19 money, little progress was made throughout July, as lawmakers have been on break and the HEROES Act (which passed the House of Representatives) stalled in the Senate due to the price tag and provisions most Republicans found unacceptable.
Now, however, Congress is back at work and there are three pieces of really good news for those hoping for a second stimulus check.
1. Both the GOP and the Democrats support a second stimulus check
While the House of Representatives already passed a stimulus bill with the support of the Democratic majority, the Senate has been the bottleneck, with GOP leaders concerned about the cost of more relief and some openly questioning whether additional help is needed since unemployment numbers seem to be improving.
Despite the reluctance of some on the right, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill on July 27 that, among other things, would provide a second stimulus check.
Dubbed the "Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act," or HEALS Act, the GOP's proposal for a second stimulus check would essentially be a repeat of the first payment. The only real change is that the HEALS Act would expand eligibility for the dependent payments this time around, just as the House-approved HEROES Act would. However, the HEALS Act would keep the payment amount for dependents the same as the first check while the HEROES Act would increase the payments from $500 to $1,200 (for up to three qualifying dependents).
In other words, while the GOP and the Democrats remain sharply divided on many issues, they aren't very far apart on their proposals for a second stimulus check. With bipartisan support for a second payment, there's a really good chance lawmakers will at least agree to pass legislation that provides it.
2. A key GOP leader described another coronavirus stimulus bill as the"shot of adrenaline" the country needs
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn't just introduce the HEALS Act -- the powerful Kentucky Republican spoke at length on the Senate floor about its provisions and described another stimulus bill as being just what the country needs to get the economy going.
McConnell controls what legislation gets a vote in the Senate, so his full-throated support for another coronavirus stimulus bill was absolutely essential. His words show both that he's eager to bring a bill to the Senate floor soon and that he'll do what it takes to ensure its passage. McConnell likely views it as an essential move toward ushering in economic recovery before the next presidential election.
With McConnell's endorsement of more coronavirus relief, plus the support of the President, it's hard to imagine enough Republicans won't get on board to pass legislation soon.
3. Senator McConnell also gave a floor speech calling stimulus payments the driver of our national comeback
McConnell has made clear that he not only believes the Senate needs to provide some type of additional coronavirus aid, but that he specifically feels a second check needs to be part of it.
The second payment was one of the key components of the HEALS Act he emphasized when introducing the legislation. And even before the GOP's official proposal was introduced, McConnell touted the importance of sending more COVID-19 money to families saying: "Speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments, direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback."
Although some lawmakers on the right have seemed reluctant to send a second stimulus check, instead kicking around alternatives such as a back-to-work bonus, McConnell's words and the inclusion of a second payment in the HEALS Act confirms GOP leadership is now embracing the idea of providing more COVID-19 relief money directly to Americans. That's not surprising, as research has shown that the first payment had an immediate impact, with each dollar of stimulus money causing spending to rise by as much as $0.30.
The bottom line is that D.C. leaders know that the economy relies on Americans spending money. They'll want to encourage spending as much as possible with consumer confidence hitting new lows, unemployment near record highs, and more states closing their doors again. Unless Americans are provided with the type of immediate financial relief that can only come from putting more money into their pockets, the country is likely to continue down the path of recession.
Republicans don't want that to happen, so McConnell will likely provide strong encouragement for a compromise bill that includes a stimulus check and that can get enough votes to pass.
Prepare for a second stimulus check bill to be voted on soon
With Senator McConnell promising more stimulus money and the GOP's official proposal including a second payment, you should keep your eyes on D.C. and watch for a vote on another coronavirus relief bill in the coming days. In fact, the upper chamber is slated to go on recess again Aug. 8. The time is short to authorize another COVID-19 payment, and lawmakers will likely want to act quickly to get it done now that leaders on both sides of the aisle have agreed on the need.
If you've already spent your first stimulus payment, now's the time to start thinking about what you'll do with the second. While paying bills or shoring up your emergency fund should be top priorities if you aren't in good financial shape, those who still have their jobs with some cash saved may want to think seriously about investing the money. Investing it enables it to grow over time. And with uncertainty-fueled stock market volatility, you may very well be able to pick up some shares of high-quality companies at a discounted rate if you do your research.