While Congress debates increasing checks to $2,000, the $600 payments are already hitting some bank accounts.
It's been a confusing few weeks regarding COVID relief. After months of negotiations, Congress finally passed a roughly $908 billion relief bill last week that includes, among other items, the extensions of federal unemployment programs, more money for PPP loans, and $600 direct payments to most Americans. It also provides a federal moratorium on evictions and an extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits through March 14.
President Trump initially refused to sign the bill, stating that the $600 stimulus payments need to be increased to $2,000. The COVID relief bill is tied to a $1.4 trillion government spending bill, which the President also criticized. To avoid a government shutdown, President Trump did sign the package, including both bills on Sunday but is still urging Republicans to increase the direct payments.
The House of Representatives voted on Monday to approve a measure that would increase stimulus checks to $2,000, but its fate in the Senate remains unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on the standalone measure and introduced his version, which includes other items unrelated to COVID relief that Senate Democrats call "poison pills."
JUST IN: McConnell introduces bill that offers $2000 direct-payments, repeals section 230 (immunity for social media companies), and commissions an election fraud study.— Sean Langille (@SeanLangille) December 29, 2020
These items include the formation of a committee to investigate election fraud and the repeal or amendment of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Section 230 essentially protects internet companies from liability for what users say on their platforms—meaning, you can't sue Facebook because of what someone posted there. The push for this repeal comes directly from President Trump, who has said that companies like Facebook and Twitter should have these protections revoked if they engage in "editorial decisions," such as adding a fact check label to his tweets.
McConnell's proposed bill has little support, and there is currently no vote scheduled for it or the original House bill. The Senate is expected to vote to overturn President Trump's veto of the defense funding bill this week. However, Senator Bernie Sanders is threatening to hold up that vote until McConnell brings the House bill to the floor for a vote. McConnell said there was "no realistic path" for the House bill and that he would not budge on the other two items in his proposed bill.
This week on the Senate floor Mitch McConnell wants to vote to override Trump's veto of the $740 billion defense funding bill and then head home for the New Year.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 28, 2020
I'm going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class.
In the meantime, the $600 stimulus payments included in the approved package are already on the way, according to the US Treasury Department. Some people starting receiving direct deposits from the IRS as early as Tuesday night, and those are expected to continue being issued throughout the week. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted Tuesday night that paper checks would begin to be mailed on December 30 and that you'll be able to check the status of your stimulus payment on the IRS website later this week.
Paper checks will begin to be mailed tomorrow. Later this week, you can check the status of your payment at https://t.co/pFBzGzK8mD. (2/2)— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) December 29, 2020
Individual taxpayers making up to $75,000 per year can expect that $600 payment and couples making up to $150,000 can expect a $1,200 payment. An additional $600 is paid out per dependent child as well. No action is required to receive payment, as they will be sent out automatically to those who are eligible.
Have you received your stimulus payment yet? What do you think about increasing them to $2,000? Let us know in the comments!