President Donald Trump and his administration have signaled they are more open to another stimulus check than previously thought. Officials from the White House and even the president himself gave various statements recently, hinting how more relief payments were in the realm of possibility. On Thursday, Trump himself told CNBC how "I think we're going to be helping people out," adding, he meant "getting some money for them."
The unemployment rate in the U.S. continues to climb as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, and public health experts warn that it is too soon to re-open public spaces. That leaves stimulus checks as one of the most straightforward pays to prevent housing crises and other forms of economic fallout. While Senate Republicans have been wary of another direct stimulus check for American taxpayers, Trump and some of his closest advisers seemed to be warming up to the idea starting this week.
After Trump's quote on Thursday, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett took to CNN on Friday to state another round of coronavirus financial aid is "pretty likely." He even said he believes "it's coming sooner rather than later." Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there is a "strong likelihood" that there will be another stimulus bill of some kind.
Still, there is no telling what these proposed stimulus packages might look like and what kind of stimulus check for individuals they might include, if any. In the past, Trump has expressed his interest in a payroll tax cut, and some Republicans have tried to put that solution forward formally. At the same time, most have stood opposed to Democrats' efforts to pass another stimulus check, including the HEROES Act, which is currently tied up in the Senate.
According to a report by Axios, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Trump last week that the next coronavirus relief bill should not cost more than $1 trillion in total — a third of the cost of the HEROES Act. That would include another stimulus check worth up to $1,200 for qualifying taxpayers and the extension of federal funding for unemployment insurance. McConnell also favors liability protections for business owners, so that they will not shoulder a huge risk by re-opening before public health officials say it is safe.
While Trump administration officials say that aid is coming soon, formal talks between Congress and the White House have stalled, and the Senate is not convening again until June 1. The U.S. Congress will reportedly be in session for part of next week.