SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Will a second round of stimulus checks get direct deposited and mailed to Utahns any time soon? It’s possible, but the details of just how much and who will get them are unclear.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority leader, said on Monday, he expects a relief package to be passed by the U.S. Senate by the end of the month. What it will look like is still unknown.
Here’s what we do know.
Back in March, the CARES Act provided adults with $1,200 checks; last month, the Democrat-controlled House passed the HEROES Act, which would send even more money to families and expand eligibility for stimulus checks.
But what happens next largely depends on the Republican-majority U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell. Many Republicans, including the president, have spoken recently about support for another stimulus package. But whether that includes checks to everybody or just those most adversely affected by the recent downturn is unclear.
“The devil is in the details. We don’t know. We have an idea about what the House has said. We’re not sure what the Senate is going to do,” said Tim Chambless, University of Utah political science professor.
“Remember, if the bills are different, they’ve got to be reconciled before they can go to the President’s desk. Almost for certain, the president who has self-identified as a fiscal conservative is going to sign this record deficit spending bill, because he wants his names on those checks going out to American voters who are also people worried about their jobs. If they’ve lost their jobs, or if they are about to lose their jobs, they need this financial stimulus they want this and this would continue on pretty close to the November election,” added Chambless.
The Senate reconvenes in two weeks, and theories abound about what that body will do regarding a stimulus package. But the consensus seems to be building that Congress will pass something before the November election, Chambless says.
“If I had to guess, predicting the immediate future off the recent past, the answer is yes. Why? The reason, Congress is very good at doing two things. Nothing, or reacting. Congress is reacting to the public opinion polls, reacting to the point that we’re going to have a national election, a hiring and firing decision on November 3rd, and those who are holding office want to be re-elected,” said Chambless.
Without a doubt, he says, political calculation ahead of the November election will push lawmakers to get money to Americans who are hurting during the Coronavirus pandemic. What is doubtful is that the provisions in the HEROES Act passed by the House will survive, at least in their current form.
“What the House passes, the Senate may have problems with. And then it will have to go to reconciliation before it gets to the White House. So the devil is in the details, we don’t know. But if I had to guess, Congress is going to do something, rather than do nothing. Because the clock is ticking, the calendar is flipping. The national election is less than four months away, they don’t want to be seen as doing nothing when the vast majority of Americans are feeling great financial pain and uncertainty,” said Chambless.