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The third stimulus check: New $1,400 payment is moving closer in the fast lane

·4 min read
The third stimulus check: New $1,400 payment is moving closer in the fast lane
The third stimulus check: New $1,400 payment is moving closer in the fast lane

It's been more than a month since the IRS began sending Americans their second COVID stimulus checks, for $600. So where's the other $1,400 leaders talked about approving quickly — to turn that last direct payment into an even $2,000?

The additional money has been held up by political maneuvering over President Joe Biden's broader $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats who control Congress now have the new cash moving along a fast track.

Here's an update, including the latest estimate on when you're likely to receive your third stimulus check.

Biden: 'No ifs, ands or buts' about new stimulus checks and other relief

Stack of 100 dollar bills with illustrative coronavirus stimulus payment check to show the virus stimulus payment to Americans
Steve Heap / Shutterstock

"The COVID relief has to pass," President Biden has said. "No ifs, ands or buts."

The White House has been reaching out to Republicans to get some bipartisan support for Biden's plan. But if it doesn't come, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are pushing along a budget measure that could allow Democrats to pass the $1,400 stimulus checks and other aid by themselves.

"With this budget resolution, the Democratic Congress is paving the way for the landmark Biden-Harris coronavirus package that will crush the virus and deliver real relief to families and communities in need," Pelosi and Schumer say in a statement.

The government's first, $1,200 stimulus checks — which were distributed to Americans last spring — were largely spent on essential needs, including groceries and rent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has said.

The money also was used for investing, a bureau survey found, or was spent on other, unspecified things. Those may have included buying affordable life insurance — sales of policies have surged amid the pandemic.

When are you likely to get another stimulus check?

The House passed the budget bill on Wednesday, in hopes of speeding along the next stimulus checks and other new pandemic money. The Senate followed suit early Friday morning. No Republicans voted in favor, in either chamber.

Biden did meet this week with 10 Republican senators who pitched a scaled-down package that would reduce the stimulus checks to $1,000 and limit them to lower-income Americans.

The president has nixed the smaller payment amount, though he's considering phasing out the checks for people earning more than $50,000 a year.

Speaker Pelosi released a statement on Friday saying the hope is to complete work on Biden's economic stimulus plan "before the end of February." That could give you a fresh stimulus check in early March.

But with the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump set to get underway in the Senate next week, Sen. Schumer has indicated Congress may not complete work on the package until mid-March.

Under that timetable, you're not likely to see another stimulus check until late March, and maybe not before April.

What if you need another stimulus check immediately?

Portrait of family with teenage son working with papers at home
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

If COVID is beating up on your household budget and you need additional cash right now, here are a few ways to come up with some money on your own — until Congress gets around to giving you another stimulus check:

  • Curb the cost of your debt. If you’ve had to use credit cards more than usual during the COVID crisis, you're likely piling up interest, and that gets expensive. Take control of your credit card debt — and make it go away more swiftly — by rolling your balances into a single, lower-interest debt consolidation loan.

  • Find creative ways to save. Cancel streaming services and any other monthly subscriptions you're not using. Resist the urge to order dinner deliveries, plan out homecooked meals, and go to the grocery store with a list you'll stick to. And, download a free browser add-on that will automatically hunt for better prices and coupons whenever you shop online.

  • Cut your insurance bills. Since many of us are driving less during the pandemic, car insurance companies have been giving price breaks. But if your auto insurer is one of the stingy ones, shop around for a better policy. You can potentially save hundreds on your homeowners insurance by comparing rates to find a lower price on that coverage.

  • Refinance your mortgage and slash your payments. Mortgage rates have been lower than ever, so refinancing your existing home loan could provide major savings. Mortgage tech and data provider Black Knight says 19.4 million U.S. homeowners have the potential to cut their housing payments by an average $308 per month through a refi.