Are Second Stimulus Checks Included in the Executive Orders Extending COVID Relief?

Eldis Sula
August 09, 2020 - 1:33 pm

    Many Americans are wondering whether they will receive a second stimulus check.

    On Saturday, President Donald Trump signed executive orders extending federal coronavirus aid, at a time when lawmakers remain at an impasse over the details of a second stimulus package.

    But while several forms of aid were passed under the orders, stimulus checks were not included.

    Here’s a few things you need to know about Trump’s new orders and the status of a possible second stimulus check.

    What’s included under the executive orders?

    Trump’s new orders extend unemployment benefits, suspend payroll taxes, and offer federal eviction and student loan relief.

    The extension of unemployment benefits comes after the July 31 expiration of those authorized under March’s CARES Act. Under Trump’s order, they will be issued at a reduced rate of $400 per week, rather than the original $600.

    One of the orders offers a payroll tax holiday until the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year.

    The two other executive orders relate to eviction protections and student loan relief.

    None of the orders include a second stimulus check.

    Will there be another executive order that includes stimulus checks?

    Second stimulus checks were not addressed in this round of orders.

    During a Friday press conference, the president did not specifically mention second checks, but commented broadly on that status of another stimulus package, after negotiations broke down between congressional Democratic leadership and White House officials. Trump remarked that an executive order "being drawn right now" and claimed Democrats were holding "critical relief hostage."

    An executive order authorizing second checks is unlikely, considering that the constitutional ability to pass federal spending falls under the powers of Congress, according to NBC News.

    In fact, it is on these grounds that Democrats threatened to legally challenge Trump’s orders if passed last week.

    “I guess, maybe they'll bring legal actions, maybe they won't. But they won't win,” Trump told reporters when asked about the possibility on Saturday.

    Will another bill that includes a second stimulus check be passed?

    While both Republicans and Democrats seem to be for a second direct payment of COVID-19 relief for the American people, there is much disagreement on many other details that would be included in another stimulus bill.

    This is why, while a second package is likely, it is difficult to predict when or how negotiations will reach a middle ground.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said that they put forth a $2 trillion compromise on Friday that was rejected by the White House.

    In May, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion second relief bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, would not be brought to a vote on the Senate floor.

    At the end of June, Senate Republicans put forward a proposal of their own in the $1 trillion HEALS Act.

    Sticking points in negotiations on the second bill include the amount of aid to states and how school funding would be determined and distributed.

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