Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled their proposal for a new stimulus package that calls for a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
The legislation, dubbed the Heroes Act, includes another round of “more substantial economic impact payments.” That second round of checks would be $1,200 per family member and up to $6,000 per household.
The proposal comes as the U.S. government is still in the process of sending out its first round of stimulus payments authorized by Congress through the Cares Act. Those payments are for up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 for married couples, plus $500 for children under 17. That first round of payments targeted low- to middle-income Americans.
The second round of payments would be structured similarly to those first checks, with $1,200 per individual and $2,400 for couples. But dependent pay would be increased to $1,200 per eligible child with a maximum of three children.
The IRS said the government has made 130 million payments so far, for a total of more than $200 billion. More than 150 million total payments to taxpayers are expected in that first round of checks.
The bill from House Democrats is less generous than some other competing proposals. Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., recently introduced a bill that would give Americans $2,000 per month during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new legislation does seek to repair a number of issues with the first round of checks. Immigrants and dependents ages 17 and over were left out of those initial payments. This bill would entitle them to receive those checks.
Those groups would also be eligible for the second wave of payments.
“They fixed the first two holes, which is good,” said Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In addition, the proposal makes it clear that payments must be delivered automatically to individuals receiving government benefits, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and veterans.
The first round of legislation did not specifically include that language, and automatic payments to those beneficiaries was added retroactively.
“The second round is more generous, and for the most part it’s simpler,” Marr said.
The timing of how quickly additional money could get into Americans’ hands will depend on how long political negotiations take, as well as how long it takes the IRS to deploy the money, according to Marr.
The good news is that a second round of payments could be easier for the IRS to get out now that they know where to deposit the money, Marr said.
Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, said he is optimistic the deployment of a second round of checks would be smoother, particularly now that the IRS has data on nonfilers.
“The big question is going to be does it make sense to have another round of rebates?” Watson said.
Politicians on the center-right will likely argue that extended unemployment is effectively doing a lot of the work, Watson said. Meanwhile, Democrats may claim that those benefits aren’t reaching everyone who truly needs the help.