President-elect Joe Biden has proposed issuing a third stimulus check worth $1,400, in addition to the $600 payment given out last month, bringing the total direct payment per person to $2,000. But it is unclear how soon Americans will have the third stimulus check in their hands.
The House of Representatives passed a bill to boost the second stimulus amount from $600 to $2,000, so the fate of the third stimulus check is now in the hands of the Senate. The bill edged closer to approval after the Democrats won control of the Senate following the historic runoff elections in Georgia.
But with the results of the Georgia runoff elections yet to be certified and Trump‘s upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate expected to cause further delays, the third stimulus payment is unlikely to be approved anytime soon.
Last week Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the results of the Georgia runoff elections would be certified as soon as possible but would not be done before Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
“We will get that done as soon as we can,” Raffensperger told CNN, adding that he cannot certify the results until counties do so and only a few had completed the certifications, as of last Friday.
But even after the Democrats officially gain control of the Senate, the $2,000 payment bill faces another hurdle with one Democrat—West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin—having indicated he will oppose the $2,000 payment.
The runoff wins have secured Democrats a 50-50 split but without Manchin’s vote, the party has 49 votes and will likely need to find at least one GOP Senator to deliver the bill if the budget reconciliation procedure is used.
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly blocked a vote to approve the $2,000 payment.
But incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to prioritize covid-19 emergency relief and stimulus checks when he begins his term, noting a vote on the $2,000 payment would be “one of the first things that I want to do.”
“The job of covid emergency relief is far from complete,” Schumer wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to members of Congress.
“Democrats wanted to do much more in the last bill and promised to do more, if given the opportunity, to increase direct payments to a total of $2,000.
“We will get that done,” he added.
Trump’s pending impeachment vote in the Senate may be yet another roadblock for the latest stimulus bill.
On Wednesday, a majority of the House voted to impeach Trump on charges of “incitement of insurrection.”
McConnell said in a statement Wednesday: “Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact,” noting that a “fair or serious trial” cannot conclude before Biden’s inauguration.
“The Senate has held three presidential impeachment trials. They have lasted 83 days, 37 days and 21 days, respectively,” he added in the statement.
Noting the multiple matters currently to be discussed on the Senate floor, Schumer told Buffalo News on Monday: “We’re going to have to do several things at once but [Democrats have] got to move the agenda as well.
“Yes, we’ve got to do both,” he added.
Many Americans have yet to receive their second stimulus payment of $600, including users of Intuit’s TurboTax, the tax-filing software company.
Second stimulus payments for some TurboTax users were reported to be “still at the IRS [Internal Revenue Service],” and some may not receive payment until the end of the month, the company advised.
“Unfortunately, for some tax filers affected by the IRS error, stimulus payments are still at the IRS. Without the IRS releasing these funds to us, we do not have a way to get your payment to you. The IRS will need to re-issue your stimulus payment.
“According to the IRS, stimulus payments are expected to be deposited into bank accounts by the end of January. If you are a TurboTax customer in this group, we have sent you an email directly letting you know,” the company added.