If there is a second round of IRS stimulus checks to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, it will be quite a while before we see them — if they arrive at all. Lawmakers will be taking a break for Memorial Day and July 4th, and since Republicans are dragging their feet, there probably won’t be a second round of IRS stimulus checks until at least after that.
Breaks to delay second round of IRS coronavirus stimulus checks
Many Americans have been expecting a second round of IRS stimulus checks during the coronavirus pandemic because the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed a phase four bill that would send out more checks.
However, Republicans have dubbed the bill "dead on arrival" and a sort of liberal wish list. Because of the lengthy debate that will ensue over it, and the fact that Republicans want to wait to see the impact of the packages that have already been passed, it's unlikely that we will see more checks any time soon.
The Democrats' package that would send a second round of IRS stimulus checks has already passed the House, but the Senate won't be taking it up for a while. The Senate will be on recess all of next week for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. Senators also have a two-week recess that starts on July 3.
An expert told CNBC that the deadline to take up the debate over a second round of IRS stimulus checks for the coronavirus could become July 3. That would mean the debate could start after the Memorial Day break and last through June.
If the Senate doesn't even discuss the House package until June, then it will take even longer before a second round of IRS stimulus checks goes through, if it does at all. The Senate will have to debate all parts of the House package, and some elements of it probably won't make it through the Republican-led Senate.
The Trump administration has said recently that it's open to a second round of IRS stimulus checks to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. However, it's unclear whether another round of checks would pass the Senate and even make it to the president's desk.
Due to all the political wrangling and the Senate's breaks, there is a possibility that the worst of the pandemic will pass before a second round of IRS checks makes it to Trump's desk. That would mean the tens of millions of Americans who have been laid off are back to work — and that a second round of checks wouldn't be needed.
On the other hand, there is still a chance that the layoffs will continue into the summer, continuing to drag on the economy. That would force lawmakers to act quickly and stop arguing over what to include in the phase four stimulus package.
Will IRS stimulus checks be in the phase four coronavirus package?
Given the Trump administration's openness to a second round of IRS stimulus checks for the general public, it's possible that Senate Republicans could be convinced to include them. The House bill includes $1,200 per adult taxpayer and dependent of any age, up to $6,000 per household. The bill also includes money for non-citizens. However, some elements of the House package are unlikely to make it through.
For example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the next stimulus package won't include an extension for the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits. That could prove to be a sticking point between the two parties.
Another point of debate is aid for state and local governments. Democrats want to include it, but Republicans don't want to bail out states that have had budget problems since before the pandemic hit.
Instead of a second round of IRS stimulus checks, some Republicans would prefer to see a payroll tax cut to incentivize people to get back to work after the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, there is no guarantee that more checks will be included in the phase four coronavirus stimulus package if there is one at all.