If Congress can’t reach an agreement by Friday, Americans probably won’t see a 2nd stimulus check until September at the earliest

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
  • The IRS is “better positioned” to send stimulus checks in August than it was in April, a union representative told CNBC on Tuesday.
  • But if Congress can’t finalise further economic relief measures this week, the checks may not come until September, the representative said.
  • Lawmakers have agreed on sending another $US1,200 check to eligible Americans – but the parties are split on other issues like unemployment relief and tax breaks.
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The IRS is “better positioned” to send stimulus checks in August than it was in April, a union representative told CNBC on Tuesday.

Chad Hooper, the national president of the Professional Managers Association, which counts IRS managers among its members, told CNBC that this Friday is a key deadline for getting more checks out this month.

“The infrastructure is already in place to administer such a payment,” he said.

That timeliness is crucial, given that economic relief measures like the $US600 weekly federal unemployment supplement expired at the end of July, while millions of Americans remained without jobs.

When CNBC asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday about a stimulus plan, he said, “If we can get a fair deal, we’re willing to do it this week.” However, lawmakers appear to be deadlocked after more than two weeks of negotiations.

While both parties have expressed support for sending another $US1,200 check to eligible Americans, the rest of their stimulus plans hang in the balance, especially those having to do with unemployment benefits.

Eligibility for another check is likely to be the same as the first. Single filers making up to $US75,000 received the full amount, which phased out for people making $US75,000 to $US99,000. People making more than $US99,000 didn’t receive a check.

Republicans have stood by their plan, called the Heals Act, which would reduce the additional unemployment benefit to $US200 for the first two months, then move to a program to replace 70% of a person’s wages. Democrats have proposed the Heroes Act, which would keep the $US600 unemployment benefit in place until 2021.

“We are looking at middle-class income-tax cuts and capital-gains tax cuts to spur investment and jobs and liquidity,” the White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Wednesday.

“We’ve been looking at that. Those things surfaced a while back. In another era we used to call them ‘tax cuts 2.0.’ The president has never lost those thoughts.”