The Tug-of-war for the $2000 Stimulus Check

The nation releases a collective sigh of relief as the New COVID Bill was reluctantly signed by President Trump last Sunday night, preventing Government Shutdown on Tuesday. However, he still advocates increasing the stimulus checks to $2000. In his tweet Tuesday night, he called out, “Weak and tired Republican Leadership”, Mitch McConnell, not to pass the NDDA and “unless Republicans have a death wish”, to approve the $2,000 stimulus check.

The sudden interest of the president to pass a $2000 stimulus check, after the new COVID Relief bill was passed in both the House and Senate, prompted the House to vote and pass the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act of 2020 which changes the amount of the stimulus checks from $600 to $2000 for each adult applicant, and dependent, child or adult.

It seems that the Republican Party does not want to pass a higher stimulus payment as Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, blocks the initial attempt to vote on the $2,000 bill. This puts the Republican senators—David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler— who are fighting reelection battles in the runoff election in Georgia next week, in a tight spot. The $2,000 bill goes against the interests of the Republican Party, but by not supporting the check, they could ruin their chances at the runoff election. The Republican senators now sit on the hot seat as they are caught between their party’s position and the popular vote of the people.

McConnell does not support the CASH Act, but in a new turn of events, McConnell produces a counter bill conceding a $2000 stimulus check for the adult applicant but maintaining the dependent’s additional payments at $600. But more than that, the bill includes a repeal of Sec 230 of the NDDA and the formation of a commission to investigate election fraud, not for future elections, but for the investigation of the one recently ended.  There is little hope for this bill to pass in the Democratic-led House as they had previously been adamant about resisting the repeal of Sec 230. This counter bill could only drag out the chances of ever seeing a $2000 stimulus check before the year ends as the proposal will have to be voted on in the Senate and once passed there, pushed back to the House for their vote.

Despite the rising number of Republicans supporting a $2,000 stimulus check, and pressure from the president to pass it, Republican Senators are still reluctant to vote for it, arguing that future generations could be chained to significant debts, as the checks will rack up an additional $464 billion to the national debt.

Interestingly enough, if the stimulus check issue does not wrap up by Friday, Republican senators could be absent on the frontlines of the campaign for Georgia’s special election, potentially losing them votes on the January 5 runoff election.

This push and pull put tremendous pressure on McConnell who now has to perform an incredible balancing feat between the president’s agenda and that of his party, days away from the runoff election that will determine the Senate majority.

What’s what?

To sum it all up, we now have 2 bills for the $2,000 stimulus check. On one hand, the CASH Act passed by the House is a simple and straightforward bill. Adult Applicants will receive $2,000 as well as their child dependents below 17 years old.  While the original COVID Relief Bill signed by the president only allowed for additional payments for children age 16 and younger, the CASH Act would provide an additional amount for older children, elderly parents living with you, or anyone else who depends on you and can claim as a dependent in your tax return. This bill has a retroactive effect to amend the first round of checks in the CARES Act so that the family who previously received only $500 for their child can receive an extra $500 or claim it as a credit on their 2020 federal income tax return.

On the other hand, Mitch McConnell’s bill proposes a $2000 stimulus check only for the adult applicant and retains the original benefits for dependents at $600 and no benefits for the adult dependents.

What are your rights?

Whether or not the $2,000 checks are passed, it’s important to know your rights. Here are some to remember.

  • The government won’t tax your first and second stimulus check. The stimulus checks are not considered income so you won’t be taxed on it and it can’t be garnished by the IRS.
  • Banks and creditors cannot garnish your second stimulus check
  • If the IRS thinks you received more stimulus money than you qualify for, the agency expects you to return the payments.
  • You’re not required to file taxes to get a stimulus check. Even if you did not submit your 2019 federal tax return, you can still get a second stimulus check. Under the new law, those who used the Non-filer portal to file the first check will also receive a second payment. These are the people who are not required to file a federal tax return:
    • You’re over 24, you’re not claimed as a dependent and your income is less than $12,200.
    • You’re married filing jointly and together your income is less than $24,400.
    • You have no income.
    • You receive federal benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.
  • Landlords and nursing homes can’t take your stimulus check money
  • Incarcerated people may still be able to claim their second stimulus check

How will the fund reach you?

Despite the debacle of the $2,000 check, the Treasury has declared that starting Tuesday night Americans can start to expect the $600 stimulus check to start arriving. Those who have direct deposit set up with the IRS don’t need to do anything as the IRS will just use the direct deposit information it has in its system. This means those that already have a record with the IRS and if their address did not change, could be the first ones to receive the payments through direct deposit. Those without records can expect their stimulus checks in the mail by Wednesday, Dec 30, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Another way for the fund to arrive is through the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) prepaid card. The IRS said that those who won’t receive their payments through direct deposit could receive them through the EIP card. They are advised to check their mail and watch out for their checks or an EIP card.  

Where to check the status

The IRS cautions citizens to check the status of their checks exclusively in the Get My Payment portal for the second round of checks to avoid any fraudulent dealings.

What happens if you don’t receive your second stimulus check?

The cut-off date for the stimulus checks is set on Jan. 15, 2021, by that time the IRS and the Treasury will stop sending out the checks for this round of delivery. If you don’t receive all or some of your $600 or even money from the first stimulus check, you will need to claim what is left when you file your federal tax returns in 2021 through the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Final Round

Nothing is set in stone yet, the chances of the $2,000 stimulus check being passed are growing slimmer each day. With the Georgia runoff elections coming, there is no way to predict the next move. Now that Mitch McConnell has pitched a new bill, the ball is back in the House.

One thing is for sure, the $600 checks are now in distribution—help is on the way.

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