Second Stimulus Checks Probably Won’t Be Mailed Until Trump Leaves Office

In a recent speech centering on the economy, Joe Biden asked Congress to pass a new relief package – including a second stimulus check – and stated that he would sign the HEROES Act into law. Just one problem: Biden can’t sign anything until he takes office in 2021.

Since summer, when congressional talks about a follow-up economic-assistance package began in earnest, Digital Music News has provided regular updates on the progress of a potential second stimulus check. Meanwhile, most Americans have blown through their first stimulus checks, and many desperately need cash as lockdowns continue.

The impact on the live event sector has been pronounced. With crowd-based live events still on hold due to COVID health concerns and lockdown measures, more than a few musicians and behind-the-scenes professionals are without regular income and stand to benefit from a new stimulus payment.

“Right now, Congress should come together to pass a COVID-relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed six months ago,” Biden said. “I would pass the HEROES Act. It has all the money and capacity to take care of each of those things. Now, now. Not tomorrow. Now.”

Sounds like a plan, though of course Biden can’t proceed until he’s actually in the White House. Which means that if Trump isn’t able to reach any compromises, checks won’t be mailed until February of 2021 at the absolute earliest.

The $3 trillion HEROES Act, which the House originally passed in May, includes a second stimulus check, aid for state and local governments, expanded federal unemployment bonuses, and more. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the legislation “dead on arrival,” however, and Republicans are pushing for a less expensive and more targeted relief bill (or series of smaller packages).

In a recent tweet, published following Joe Biden’s above-noted remarks, Mitch McConnell made clear that his stance on the HEROES Act hasn’t changed. Consequently, the same underlying disagreements that have produced the ongoing months-long deadlock must be overcome.

Georgia’s January Senate runoff races are also worth bearing in mind, as is Senator Joe Manchin’s stating that he doesn’t “support that amount that they’re putting towards different areas” in the HEROES Act.

More broadly, though, lawmakers from both parties have accepted the core idea of sending out a second stimulus check. And eligibility-wise, evidence suggests that the proposed federal-government payments will have about the same requirements as the CARES Act’s stimulus checks did.

Single taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 would receive the full $1,200 payment, while individuals who take home more than the figure but less than $99,000 per year would get smaller checks, depending upon their exact income. The stimulus-check benchmarks are the same for married couples (who would receive $2,400 if they earn under $150,000 combined).

Supplemental $500 payments for dependents will also remain the same, under the current stimulus-package bills, with the key exception of new $500-per-dependent compensation for adults. In other words, second stimulus check recipients would receive $500 for each of their minor or adult dependents (not solely minors, as was the case with the CARES Act) on top of the core $1,200 payment.

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