On May 15, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus package designed as a follow up to the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020. But after nearly a month, the Senate appears in no hurry to negotiate or revise the bill.
This leaves millions of Americans wondering whether another stimulus package will come at all. Most agree that a one-time payment of $1,200 simply wasn’t enough to navigate the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. So if another stimulus package isn’t passed, what will happen next?
Where Does the Senate Stand on the HEROES Act?
The Senate has read the HEROES Act twice, once on May 21 and once on June 1. It’s been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar but isn’t expected to receive further attention until late July, after the Senate reconvenes from its two-week recess beginning July 3.
In early June, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that Congress hasn’t set a date for a vote on the second stimulus package. While the Senate considers the proposals included in the HEROES Act, the Trump Administration is expected to outline its own stimulus recommendations through the month of July.
Tax Refunds May Be Delayed
If Congress fails to successfully negotiate a new stimulus package, Americans may face a double-whammy of financial ramifications. In addition to losing up to $6,000 per household in stimulus money, American families may also need to wait longer for their much-anticipated tax refunds.
IRS employees are finally returning to work as the new tax deadline of July 15 inches closer and closer. Though about 90% of taxpayers file their tax returns electronically, millions of Americans still mail in their returns, and those returns are piling up quickly.
“I think that the IRS is incredibly behind,” Nina Olson, a former national taxpayer advocate, said. “The overflow has been so great that the IRS had to rent tractor-trailers and even some storage — separate storage — to just store the documents until the employees could come back and work through them.”
It could take more than a year before the IRS finally catches up with its backlog of work. As a result, taxpayers should brace for delays.
Extra $600 Weekly In Unemployment Benefits May Stop
Failure to pass another stimulus package will also impact unemployment benefits. The CARES Act implemented an extra $600 a week payment for all Americans receiving unemployment. That benefit is set to expire at the end of July, while the HEROES Act recommends extending it through January 2021.
However, since two-thirds of workers on unemployment are receiving more from unemployment benefits than they did at their old jobs, many are hesitant to return to work. Larry Kudow, a senior economic adviser to the President, has indicated the administration is willing to remedy this by considering a back-to-work bonus instead. The bonus would be designed to encourage Americans who are receiving unemployment benefits to return to work when given the opportunity.
Until the Senate convenes in July to fully discuss the lengthy HEROES Act, Americans will be holding their breath, wondering what the future holds.