The Latest on the Next Round of Direct Payments

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Another round of direct payments has been tentatively agreed upon by lawmakers.

Another round of direct payments has been tentatively agreed upon by lawmakers, according to CNBC.

Capitol Hill has been gridlocked for weeks now as lawmakers debate what to include on the next coronavirus stimulus package. However, both parties agreed that another round of direct payments should be sent to Americans. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has stated he wants to get those checks out this month, but that seems unlikely due to the incompetence of lawmakers.

“What I would say to people is there is still a pretty good chance that you’re going to get these payments,” said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “But it’s impossible to know when or how long it’s going to take.”

However, there may be changes to who receives money and how much this time around. More dependants may be eligible to receive payments this time. The first round of checks included $500 for those age 17 and under, but lawmakers have advocated for including all adults this time around, which would make college students and disabled individuals eligible.

Once it becomes apparent that lawmakers are close to a deal, the timeline for direct payments can start to be drawn up. “I think they could at least get the direct deposit money out pretty quickly,” Gleckman said. “Whether they could do it two weeks from now, I don’t know.” On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that the Democrats and White House are "miles apart" in negotiations.

President Donald Trump recently signed executive orders to address unemployment benefits, relief for renters, student loan payment deferrals, and a payroll tax holiday. The President does support the direct payments but did not include them in the series of executive orders. “You can’t make the Treasury write checks with money it does not have,” Gleckman said. “Had he been able to do it with an executive order, he would have.”

Many economists want to prioritize other issues such as small businesses that support the overall economy. “We need to prioritize making sure there’s enough cash that the businesses can hang onto their employees, that families that have lost their jobs can get through these times,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. “Every dollar that you spend not doing that is a waste, is not helpful for the recovery, and makes it that much more difficult to help those who need help.”

“It’s got to be incredibly frustrating for people,” Gleckman said. “They’ve got to be pretty angry at Washington right now, and you can’t blame them.”

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