As the number of U.S. coronavirus cases continues to climb and one-fifth of the nation is now sheltering at home, Congress is planning to enact a third relief bill. The coronavirus stimulus bill is under discussion and Senate leaders hope to pass it the week of March 23.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke to reporters this week and stated that the bill will be very expensive. He noted, "This is a big number. This is a very unique situation in this economy."
While negotiations are still in process, checks to individuals may be distributed as early as April 2020. The cost of the stimulus bill could reach $1 trillion.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R–IA) is leading the Senate panel drafting the specific provisions. Grassley noted, "We are now working on a bold and comprehensive effort to provide additional relief to Americans and our economy in this challenging time."
Speaking on the Senate floor on March 19, Grassley explained multiple benefits that are under discussion for the new coronavirus relief bill.
- Checks — Up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples.
- Tax Payments — Both filing of returns and tax payments would be deferred from April 15 to July 15, 2020.
- Quarterly Payments — The quarterly estimated tax payment deadline will be delayed for 180 days.
- Charitable Gifts — There will be no limit on the deductions for charitable gifts given to coronavirus relief organizations. There also will be a new "above the line" charitable deduction.
This third coronavirus relief bill combines direct payments to individuals, deferral of tax payments and increased charitable giving. A coalition of nonprofits has been advocating a universal charitable deduction. The coalition believes that a charitable deduction for nonitemizers will increase charitable giving. Sen. Grassley appears to be open to a modest amount of above–the–line deductions for charitable gifts. The final bill provisions should be available within the next week.