President Trump signed four executive actions Saturday aimed at delivering relief to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic while accusing Democrats of stonewalling greater aid efforts. Trump announced a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment to out-of-work Americans — short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. He unveiled an extension of student loan relief and protections from evictions for renters and homeowners. Trump also issued a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000, while promising more relief if he wins a second term. The president signed the executive actions from his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., as club members cheered him on. He blamed Democrats for the coronavirus stalemate in Congress and said he’d take matters into his own hands. “Democrats are obstructing all of it,” Trump said. “Therefore, I’m taking executive action … and we’re going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers.” For the new $400-per-week benefit, states would be on the hook for funding 25 percent for the millions of jobless Americans, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent of the benefit, Trump said. Asked when the jobless would see the money, Trump said it would be “rapidly distributed.” The $400 boost is more than what many congressional Republicans wanted. Some opposed any extension of the federal aid, while others backed a boost no greater than $200 per week. Meanwhile, Democrats had been fighting for the full $600-per-week extension, which is on top of state unemployment benefits. Click here for more:
As Congress debates the next round of federal coronavirus relief, a fresh round of stimulus checks for Americans is seeming like an increasingly likely possibility. Senate Republicans rolled out the HEALS Act — the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protections and Schools Act — on Monday, estimated to cost around $1 trillion. Among other measures, the package includes another $1,200 economic impact payment. The second checks will follow the same eligibility formula as the first round, according to a memo released by the Senate Finance Committee. Qualifying individuals who earn a gross adjusted income of up to $75,000 and couples earning $150,000 would receive the full $1,200 or $2,400 payments, respectively. For higher earners, the checks will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in income and phased out entirely at $99,000 and $198,000. The latest proposal also modified the stimulus checks so that families with dependents over the age of 17 who were excluded from the previous payments — a frequent criticism of the CARES Act, signed into law at the end of March — will be able to receive the extra $500. For instance, a married couple with two children could receive up to $3,400. It’s unclear whether the HEALS Act has a limit on how many dependent payments a single household can receive. The House-passed HEROES Act in May capped them at three, or an additional $1,500. Individuals who have no income and federal benefits recipients are still eligible for the full check amount. A vast majority of Americans will not be required to take any action in order to receive the money. The IRS will use their 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return as an alternative. The release of the HEALS Act has ignited a flurry of negotiations between congressional Republicans and Democrats, both of whom are eager for a deal as a resurgence of the virus triggers another wave of business shutdowns. That gives lawmakers just two weeks to reach an agreement on legislation: The House is scheduled to start its recess by Aug. 3, and the Senate is expected to follow on Aug. 7. But Republicans are arriving at the negotiating table hobbled by party infighting, with some conservative Republicans breaking ranks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan and arguing the proposed spending is too much. Some warned that half of Senate Republicans may vote against the legislation. “The focus of this legislation is wrong,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told reporters this week. “Our priority, our objective, should be restarting the economy.” If President Trump signs the legislation before the Senate begins its August recess next week, that could mean Americans would start to see the money at least by the end of the month, if not earlier, as the IRS already has individuals’ direct deposit information on hand. At the beginning of June, the IRS said it had distributed some 159 million payments, worth more than $267 billion. Of those checks, 120 million were sent via direct deposit, 35 million by check and 4 million were made in the form of a prepaid debit card. An estimated 26 million more individuals will be eligible to receive money under the HEALS Act, according to an estimate from the Tax Foundation. Click here to see how much money you can expect to receive under the HEALS Act.
Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested the Trump administration was considering sending Americans another round of stimulus checks to offset the financial pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the related economic lockdown. “I think we’re going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy,” Mnuchin said Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. It’s unclear what specific policies the White House is exploring, but there are several proposals — from Democrats and Republicans alike — on the table that would get money directly into the hands of a significant chunk of Americans. One such package, the $3 trillion HEROES Act passed by House Democrats in May, would send another round of $1,200 checks to American adults and children and expand the number of people who are eligible to receive the government aid. One criticism of the CARES Act, which sent up to $1,200 to Americans earning less than $75,000, was that it did not include older teens and college students. But the HEROES Act broadens the scope of the money to include those individuals. The payments would be capped at $6,000 per household. To see how much money you would receive through the HEROES Act, you can use this online calculator provided by Omni. Some Democrats have proposed a more aggressive approach to stimulus measures. At the beginning of May, Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., unveiled a bill that would give most Americans a monthly payment of $2,000 until the virus begins to fade — a nod to universal base income championed by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Similar to a House bill proposed in mid-April, the senators called for $2,000 cash payments to every American who earns less than $120,000. It would expand to $4,000 for married couples and also provided an extra $2,000 for each child up to three. That means families with three children could theoretically receive $10,000 per month. Republicans, meanwhile, have pitched a back-to-work bonus for unemployed Americans returning to their jobs. More than 44 million Americans have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown, a rate unseen since the Great Depression. But Republicans have voiced concern that extra unemployment benefits of $600 a week are actually discouraging some workers from returning to their jobs. The sweetened benefits are set to expire at the end of June. Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, proposed a bill to give recipients of unemployment benefits who go back to their jobs a one-time lump payment of $1,200, or two weekly payments of $600. Another proposal from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would provide $450 weekly to laid-off Americans returning to work, in addition to their wages. In both cases, the money would last through July 31, the same date on which the extra $600-a-week unemployment benefit expires. The idea of a back-to-work bonus has also gained traction among some White House officials, who have voiced support for reforming unemployment benefits in the next aid package. “We’ve got to reward individuals for coming back to work,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said during a recent interview on “Fox & Friends.” “There will be some kind of re-employment bonus. We’re not going to go to the $600, that’s a disincentive to work.” Americans eager for a second cash check may have to wait a while, however. White House officials have said they do not intend to pass more relief measures until at least the beginning of July. The Senate is not scheduled to return from its two-week summer recess until July 20, making it unlikely that a fourth round of aid is passed before then. Kevin Hassett, another White House economic adviser, told “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning that another stimulus package — and what’s included in it — will depend on what the economy looks like in July. So far, Congress has passed three massive stimulus packages totaling nearly $3 trillion to blunt the economic pain from the virus outbreak, raising concerns among some Republicans about a ballooning deficit. Money from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, signed into law at the end of March, is still trickling its way through the economy. There remains $130 billion in the Paycheck Protection Program, a fund that provides forgivable loans of up to $10 million to small businesses. There are also an estimated 35 million individuals waiting to receive their payment of up to $1,200 from the Internal Revenue Service, according to recent data published by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Again, if you want to see how much you might receive, click on the text above.
The Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday launched an online tool to allow taxpayers to give the agency their direct deposit information to help speed up the coronavirus relief payments to Americans. The IRS’s “Get My Payment” app allows taxpayers who did not give the agency direct deposit information when filing taxes in 2018 or 2019 to submit their bank information through the portal in order to expedite their payment delivery. The majority of eligible Americans – more than 80 million, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – who filed their taxes in 2018 and/or 2019 and received a refund via direct deposit had received their stimulus relief payments by Wednesday. Those who do not file taxes are also now able to go to the IRS website and use the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” section to enter their bank information in order to receive their payment faster than they would via regular mail. Some Americans can expect to receive paper checks in the mail, but that method of delivery could take months. As part of the CARES Act, people who file their taxes as individuals are eligible for payments up to $1,200, and couples who file jointly are eligible for up to $2,400 plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17. The amount decreases for individuals who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 and couples who earn more than $150,000 a year, by $5 for every $100 in income above those marks. This means the payment is less the higher their earnings are, with it being reduced to zero for individuals who make $99,000 or more and couples who make $198,000 or more. People who file as heads of household are eligible for payments of up to $1,200 plus $500 per child under 17. That amount is reduced for people who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $112,000 a year. The extent to which it is decreased depends on how many children they have. Payment amounts may also be offset by any past due child support payments that have been reported to the Treasury Department. The payments do not count as taxable income. Similarly, they do not count for determining eligibility for federal programs like Supplemental Security Income. Click here for more information:
Definitely something to look into if you’re eligible!