Spending

A second stimulus check is coming, says President Trump: It will be 'very generous'

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Millions of Americans have been eager to see if they'll receive a second stimulus check, and the wait for an answer may almost be over. 

President Trump said that the government would, in fact, be sending out a second round of stimulus checks at some point in the near future in an interview with Scripps national politics editor Joe St. George on Monday, June 22. 

"We are, we are," Trump said when St. George asked him if the government would be sending out more stimulus checks. "We will be doing another stimulus package. It will be very good, it will be very generous."

The president didn't offer much more in the form of details, saying only "you'll find out about it," and that a plan should be announced "over the next couple of weeks."

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Other members of the Trump administration have been more circumspect: A White House official told NBC News that additional stimulus payments are a "part of something the economic team is studying," but that "no decisions [have been] made yet."

Since Congress breaks for a two-week recess on July 3 and another month-long recess on August 8, a lot of bipartisan work would need to be done in a short time to pass another stimulus bill this summer. Still, given the severity of the economic crisis, some experts think it's likely that the government will have no choice but to push through some form of additional relief, especially since the $600 a week in enhanced unemployed benefits put into place by the CARES Act are set to expire July 31.

'Nothing like this has ever happened in our lifetime'

Economically, "this is obviously a cataclysmic event. Nothing like this has ever happened in our lifetime," says Jim Brown, a financial expert, consultant, and the founder of Jim Brown Investing. "People need help," he says, and Americans are "being affected in every way you can possibly think of."

In response, the first round of stimulus checks began to go out at the beginning of April, almost three months ago, as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that included aid for businesses as well as a temporary $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits.

Stimulus payments have since reached millions of Americans, but for many people they weren't enough: About 15% of recipients said the money "didn't make a dent," while another 48% said it helped a little bit, according to a Magnify Money survey. Only 39% appeared satisfied, reporting that their check helped "significantly." 

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The extra $600 per-week benefit, though, is still set to expire, and with millions of Americans still unemployed due to the pandemic — 1.5 million people filed for benefits for the first time just last week — experts say many households will need more financial help from the government.

"Such a large number of people on unemployment insurance suggests that government benefits will be needed for longer in order to avoid a negative shock to consumer spending," Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch told CNBC.

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Disagreements in Congress about additional relief

House Democrats passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, which includes more stimulus checks and an extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits, but the legislation stalled in the Senate, where Republicans have pushed back against further stimulus bills, citing concerns about the overall costs and the dangers of incentivizing people to remain unemployed.  

Some GOP lawmakers appear to be warming to the idea of additional assistance. Kevin Cramer, a Republican Senator from North Dakota, told The Washington Post that he would be supportive of more stimulus checks as a part of another, larger stimulus package: "I'd be warm to [stimulus checks] as one of the components of another round."

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Others have floated alternative proposals, such as a temporary "back-to-work bonus" of up to $450 per week, to help offset the loss of the enhanced unemployment benefits. But although the bonuses appear popular both on the Hill and with the White House, no relevant bill has been passed.

'We need to get more money into the economy quickly'

Experts worry that a lack of more stimulus money, along with a loss of bigger unemployment checks, could stunt the economic recovery and even prolong the recession.

Lisa D. Cook, a Michigan State University economist and a former senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers under the Obama administration, told Grow last month that households need more money, and they need it sooner rather than later.

"A check in the mail in September isn't going to help us. We need to get more money into the economy quickly by sending checks out quickly. And we need to provide more of them and let people know they'll be supported," she said.

While no one can make Congress fast-track another stimulus package, Brown says the pandemic does present the opportunity to learn and prepare for the next economic calamity. "The lesson, the takeaway from this," he says, "is to have an emergency fund." And that goes for companies, too: "Whether you're a business or individual … having an emergency fund or access to capital is critical," he says.

For those without emergency savings and who are struggling to get by, an additional round of stimulus should provide some relief. Howard Dvorkin, a certified public accountant and chairman of the personal finance site Debt.com, recently told Grow that he thinks that more stimulus is definitely on the way.

"I don't know what it looks like," he said, but "something will be out there."

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