PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Keep an eye on those bank accounts and mailboxes, because congressional members say $600 stimulus checks or direct payments could reach many Americans in the next couple weeks.
“Help is on the way,” Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) said. “They should have it in days, from what I understand.”
President Donald Trump signed the massive bipartisan bill and government funding package Sunday that will provide economic help to millions of Americans and avoids a government shutdown.
Despite Trump’s delay in signing the bill, the Treasury Department could still issue payments by direct deposit to Americans this week, a spokesman for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) told CNBC.
Americans who make under $75,000 per year will soon receive a one-time $600 check based on their 2019 income for them as well as for dependents under the age of 17. The payments are gradually diminished for people making more than $75,000, or $150,000 for married couples, and phased out completely for income levels of $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.
One thing congressional Democrats and President Trump agree on is that $600 is not enough.
On Monday evening, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would give Americans a $2,000 stimulus check, instead of the $600 one. The bill now has to go to the Senate, but it’s expected to hit a roadblock there.
“This will go a long way toward helping people get through this coronavirus crisis we are dealing with right now,” Langevin said.
As of Monday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had not publicly addressed how the Senate will handle the $2,000 stimulus payments. Some Senate Republicans believe the bill to change the stimulus amount to $2,000 is poorly targeted and should go only to people who lose their job in the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, I would expect an objection, but we have to keep hammering away,” Reed said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Monday, “The House and the President are in agreement: We must deliver $2,000 checks to American families struggling this Holiday Season.”
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse also said he’s in support of the larger check.
“I support authorizing $2,000 stimulus checks to boost the economy and provide more stability for millions of people as we head into what may be the most difficult months of this pandemic,” Whitehouse said. “For that to happen, President Trump will need to change the minds of the members of his own party who continue to block the measure.”
The Treasury Department is supposed to send out the stimulus checks no later than Jan. 15. If you don’t get it by then, you’ll have to claim it on your next tax return.
Included in the $900-billion package is an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program and rental assistance for struggling families, along with a $300 boost in unemployment benefits.