Here’s What You Should Know About The Second Stimulus Package

The White House has countered Democrats’ revised $2.2 trillion HEROES Act with a $1.62 trillion relief bill. This proposed bill is more favorable than the past skinny bill, though still might not be where Democrats believe it should be. But it’s a start.

[ Read: Where to Find Financial Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

To be clear, both sides agree on providing more relief to Americans; the disagreement is around how much. And with the election only a month away, we’re not sure if we’ll see a signed bill before or after November 3. But here’s what we know in the meantime.

What’s in the White House’s bill

There’s a lot packed into this bill, including money for the U.S. postal service and coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution. Here are the highlights:

  • Another $1,200 stimulus check
  • $250 billion for state and local governments
  • $400 extension of unemployment benefits
  • $150 billion in funding for education
  • $28 billion in student relief
  • $160 billion to fund the Paycheck Protection Program

There is pressure to get out the next round of stimulus check

Despite the back and forth between Democrats and the White House, there is one area that they (mostly) agree on. Stimulus checks. You should expect another stimulus check when the bill is signed. It’s likely that the second relief will draw some changes from the latest House proposal, as well as the Heroes Act and HEAL Act. There will still be income thresholds and some possible eligibility changes. The most significant being a change in the definition of dependents –– which could mean more money for you.

The CARES act only included dependents under 16, which completely glazed over adult dependents and college students. Both sides agree that needs to change this go-round. 

[ Read: Do You Qualify for a Coronavirus Hardship Loan? ]

Another big upside for the second round is stimulus checks will probably get to you faster. With the IRS system already in place and the popularity of direct deposit, we hope to see less of a delay once the second round is announced.

Alternative actions are still possible 

A revised HEROES act and a counter from Republicans is a sign of progress. But there’s still a chance neither make it past the Republican Senate and we go back to the drawing board. An executive order from Trump could push things into action. In a September press conference, Trump hinted at a potential executive order. “Now, we have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use. And we are willing to use that. I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money, and it would go right to the American people.”

You read that correctly. Three hundred billion is sitting in an account, not in the pockets of those who need it. He went on to say: “We don’t need the money. We don’t need anything. Just let that money get released to the American people.”

[ Read: The Simple Dollar Guide to the 2020 Presidential Election ]

Another potential alternative is to pass smaller, more targeted bills. However, Pelosi has expressed her intentions to pass one comprehensive bill and rejects the efforts by Republicans to focus on a smaller COVID-19 package. In a recent interview, she said that the government can “fiscally spend the appropriate amount of money to meet the needs of the American people.” 

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Taylor Leamey

Personal Finance Reporter

Taylor Leamey is a personal finance reporter at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, mortgages, renters, and financial policy. Her reporting has also been featured at,,,, and elsewhere.

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  • Andrea Perez
    Andrea Perez
    Personal Finance Editor

    Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar who leads our news and opinion coverage. She specializes in financial policy, banking, and investing.