President Donald Trump suggested he may not sign the new stimulus package, which includes your stimulus check.
Here’s what you need to know.
Will you get a stimulus check? Millions of Americans are asking the same question, as the president has said he may veto the new $900 billion stimulus package. Trump called the stimulus check — which is $600 for individuals, $1,200 for married and joint filers, and $600 for dependents — “ridiculously low.” Here are some potential options that may happen next:
1. President Trump vetoes stimulus package
The first option is that Trump vetoes the stimulus package, which is what he suggested during his White House speech before Christmas when he said he would oppose the legislation. Trump wants a $2,000 stimulus check for each individual, which is more than three times the current amount that Congress approved on a bipartisan basis. If Trump vetoes the legislation, Congress can seek to override the presidential veto, which would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber. Historically, a presidential override is rare, and Congress has only overridden less than 10% of presidential vetoes. The other alternative is for Congress to pass new a new stimulus package with a bigger stimulus check, which Trump would sign.
2. President Trump does not sign the stimulus package
Rather than veto the stimulus package, Trump could simply not sign the bill. This is called a pocket veto. According to the U.S. Constitution, a president may effectively veto a bill if the president doesn’t sign the bill for 10 days (excluding Sunday) after receiving it from Congress and while Congress is in recess. Congress is adjourned until January 3, 2021, so there would be enough time for Trump to veto the stimulus bill through a pocket veto. With a pocket veto, Congress can’t override the veto. Instead, Congress would have to pass new legislation in the next congressional term.
3. Trump signs the stimulus package
Despite criticizing Congress over the size of the stimulus checks, Trump ultimately may sign the legislation. Yes, Trump wants $2,000 stimulus checks, but he may not want to delay further financial aid to the American people. This includes not only stimulus checks, but also unemployment insurance, small business loans and rent relief.
4. Congress passes $2,000 stimulus checks
It’s possible that the U.S. House of Representatives passes $2,000 stimulus checks. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she plans to hold a vote Monday on $2,000 stimulus checks, which she and many of her Democratic colleagues support. (Some colleagues support $2,000 a month stimulus checks until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, although this would be a one-time stimulus check). If the House passes $2,000 stimulus checks, then the Senate would need to do the same. It’s unlikely that the Senate agrees to $2,000 stimulus checks. Senate Republicans have been concerned with the size of financial stimuli, which already has reached trillions of dollars this year. For many conservative Republicans, $2,000 stimulus checks are a non-starter. As such, $2,000 stimulus checks could pass the House, but effectively be ignored in the Senate.
5. Congress agree to $1,200 stimulus checks
It’s possible that Democrats want $2,000 stimulus checks, but Republicans are willing to agree to a higher stimulus check than $600. Maybe that higher stimulus check is $1,200, which would be the same as the first stimulus check in the Cares Act. It’s also the same amount that Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed before Congress passed the new stimulus package and ignored their proposal. Even if Congress increases the second stimulus check to $1,200, there’s no guarantee that Trump would sign the legislation.
With this latest stimulus update, it’s looking less probable that a stimulus package will be approved this year. Unless the president signs the legislation as originally expected, don’t expect a stimulus check now. There are various potential next steps, which include Congress passing new legislation during the next congressional term in 2021. Until then, millions of Americans may not get a stimulus check, unemployment insurance, rent relief and other essential financial support.