As the coronavirus pandemic continues to throttle the American economy, lawmakers are looking at a second round of stimulus that could include another direct check payment to Americans making under $75,000. In an interview with Scripps local news TV, President Donald Trump even appeared open to the possibility of another check going out.
"We will be doing another stimulus package. It'll be very good. It'll be very generous," Trump told Scripps local news TV. However, when pressed on how much money the second check might contain, Trump only responded: "You'll find out about it. You'll find out."
However, NBC News reports that a White House official said they are only studying another round of direct payments and that "no decisions" have been made yet.
The fight over more stimulus to jump start the American economy has already seen Democrats in the House pass a $3 trillion stimulus package. The HEROES Act provided additional relief for unemployed workers, extending unemployment payments, additional funding for state and local health agencies, and more. It also included a wishlist of funding for the American people, including potential vacation payments, 'back-to-work' incentives, and more. However, Senate Republicans have called the House bill a "non-starter," saying Congress needs to wait to see what, if any, stimulus might need.
Republicans are also working on their own stimulus plan that would see the direct payments to Americans removed in favor of tax cuts, like a payroll tax cut, as well as regulatory reductions.
Senate Republicans aren't the only ones skeptical about another round of stimulus payments - Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) said this week while the first round of checks were an appropriate response to the pandemic, he believes it might be time to try another approach as states reopen their economies.
"I think the next round we’ve got to be more targeted to those who are really in need. So I hope we can target this a little bit better to those who have been hit hard because of COVID-19,” he said, according to a report in The Hill.
Cardin isn't the only Democrat who has expressed doubt about the direct stimulus payments. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who serves on the Senate Finance Committee with Cardin, has also expressed doubt that one-time payments are what people need.
"What people need is a paycheck. They need ongoing income until this is done. That’s what they need,” she told The Hill during the negotiations for the CARES Act.
Those views are similar to what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has espoused to President Trump. Any potential stimulus approved by the Senate would have to be "narrowly focused" and under $1 trillion.
Nothing will be decided until mid-July when the Senate reconvenes.
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