This week, many Americans are feeling eager after President Donald Trump said that another stimulus check will be announced in a "couple of weeks" and that it will be "very generous." However, the president has not been entirely consistent on this question over the last few weeks, and he does not have total authority over stimulus packages either. It is worth looking back at all of his comments on the second stimulus package to get an idea for what he might have been teasing.
The U.S. government issued a one-time stimulus check to American taxpayers in April to buoy them through the coronavirus pandemic, and many are eager for another. The U.S. Congress has passed a bill creating another similar payment, but the Senate has been slow and reluctant to pass it. If the two legislatures can agree on a stimulus package, it will be up to Trump to sign it into law. From the sound of it, Trump is eager to sign just about any stimulus package as soon as possible.
The president has spoken favorably about just about every form of economic stimulus suggested to him. He was an early advocate for payroll tax cuts — the stimulus check alternative that many Republicans favor — but has also praised the direct payments, even ordering his name affixed to the checks even though the treasury signed them.
In recent weeks, Trump has also praised the idea of a vacation tax credit, in the hopes of enticing Americans to go on trips this summer despite the threat of the coronavirus. However, alongside all of these other methods, Trump favors another straightforward stimulus check for the simple reason that he believes it will help his chances at re-election, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The problem is that Trump does not have control over this issue, regardless of what he says. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has spoken out against the current stimulus check bill — the HEROES Act — and has said that "if there's another [stimulus package], it will come together in July," according to a report by CBS News. The United States Senate has a two-week recess scheduled from July 3 to July 17, so McConnell was likely referring to the end of the month, not any time soon.
Trump can be hard to follow as he thinks out loud and jumps from issue to issue, but in some cases his words are worth following closely. Here's a rundown of everything Trump has said publicly about a possible second stimulus check.
Taking it all the way back to March, the president stressed the importance of bipartisan cooperation on the stimulus packages during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a report by MarketWatch, he signed the CARES Act at a ceremony attended by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle saying: "I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first. I never signed anything with a T on it."
This emphasis on bipartisanship is important to understand in the push for another stimulus check, since Republicans and Democrats are more divided on the issue than they were the first time around. Here, the president is less adherent to party lines.prevnext
Jumping ahead to early May, the president said he saw "no rush" to pass another stimulus package, according to a report by Forbes. He was speaking about the historic unemployment numbers for the month of April, and the protections given to the unemployed and to employers by the CARES Act.prevnext
A few weeks later, Trump met with leaders in the restaurant industry for a roundtable at the White House. There, he spoke favorably about the so-called Explore America Tax Credit, which would give travellers a $4,000 tax credit for vacations taken within the U.S. This could be used to draw business into hotels, restaurants, theme parks and other tourism-related businesses.
"Long term, the deduction would be phenomenal, Trump said. "Create an 'Explore America' — that's 'Explore,' right? Explore America tax credit that Americans can use for domestic travel, including visits to restaurants. That's a big deal. Grant restaurants more flexibility under the PPP. That's what we're talking about — right? And protect workers and businesses alike with curbs on frivolous litigation — frivolous litigation, a thing I know something about."prevnext
Checks AND Payroll Tax Cuts
In the first week of June, Trump gave a speech at the Rose Garden where he praised his administration's response to the coronavirus so far, and promised big things to come. As he appeared to off-script, the president hinted that both another stimulus check and a payroll tax cut could both be on the way.
"We'll be asking for additional stimulus money," he said, "because once we get this going, it'll be far bigger and far better than we've ever seen in this country — that includes as of three or four months ago when everyone thought it was great and it was great."
"We will be going for a payroll tax cut," he added shortly after, "which will be incredible in terms of what we are doing because we are going to be bigger and better than we ever were."prevnext
That takes us to this week, when Trump assured reporters from Nexstar Broadcasting that another stimulus check was coming, despite the disagreement among lawmakers. "I think we're working on something that's going to be very dramatic, very good," he said. "The economy is really starting to roar."prevnext
VIDEO: President Trump commits to 2nd stimulus. He says details would be announced in the coming weeks. The President would not tell me how much of a check Americans will receive. pic.twitter.com/Abd5E8P3Au— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) June 22, 2020
Finally, Trump seemed to reiterate that sentiment on Monday in an interview with Washington correspondent Joe St. George. Trump told him: "We will be doing another stimulus package. It will be very good. It will be very generous."
Still, each time the president makes one of these authoritative statements, members of his administration work to qualify them with more tempered language. The president does not write laws, so the extent to which he is "working on" another stimulus package with the House or the Senate is limited at best. He also will not be able to pass any of these packages until the House and the Senate agree on one.prev