Republican plan would send more $1,200 stimulus checks in August

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The 160 million Americans who got stimulus checks earlier this year would get another payment as soon as next month under a plan being negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Our proposal is the exact same provision as last time,” Mnuchin told reporters Thursday as he and congressional Republicans work to finalize a series of stimulus bills that will form the counteroffer to a plan from Democrats.

That would mean individuals earning up to $75,000 would receive a $1,200 payment for themselves and $500 for their dependent children. Couples earning up to $150,000 would also qualify. The payment amounts phase down for singles earning up to $99,000 or $198,000 as a couple.

Using the same parameters as the last round of stimulus payments would mean that the Internal Revenue Service could quickly deliver the money to people’s bank accounts and mailboxes. The IRS prioritized getting direct deposit information for households earlier this year, so the agency could deliver millions of electronic payments and not be slowed down by mailing paper checks.

The plan would see the U.S. Treasury shovel approximately $300 billion more into the economy in the coming weeks. The payments would arrive as unemployment claims tick up and economists worry that households could struggle to cover expenses later in the year.

This plan wouldn’t necessarily immediately help the millions of eligible Americans who haven’t yet received their first stimulus checks because they aren’t required to file a tax return or are a recipient of a federal benefit program, such as Social Security. There are as many as 12 million homeless, long-term unemployed and other very low-income individuals who haven’t received their payments yet, according to an estimate from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities from June.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig has disputed the 12 million figure, but is asking the public to tell people who may be eligible but haven’t received a payment to submit their bank account or address to the IRS by mid-October.

The payment plan, which is part of a broader stimulus package addressing unemployment benefits, school funding and money for local governments, is currently being negotiated in Congress and could be approved by early August.

The proposal would require support from Democrats, who have also backed another round of stimulus payments. A House plan calls for increasing the payments for children to $1,200 and expanding the eligibility rules for several groups, including adult dependents and U.S. citizens who are married to immigrants.

Bloomberg News
Tax refunds Steven Mnuchin Mitch McConnell IRS Charles "Chuck" Rettig Coronavirus
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