As the likelihood of a second round of stimulus payments becomes higher, it appears there could be an increasing divide between how these payments should be issues. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the HEROES Act, which would provide an additional one-time $1,200 payment to citizens, it has yet to be voted on in the Senate.
Even before the Senate's recent recess, there has been plenty of speculation that the Democrat-backed bill would pass the Republican-controlled Senate. On Saturday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro spoke with CNN about an additional round of payments with a sense of urgency. He also said that the White House is looking at a phase four stimulus package, which would focus on American manufacturing with a hefty $2 trillion price tag.
"We are facing significant structural headwinds," Navarro said, citing major disruptions to service-oriented industries like entertainment, hospitality and transportation thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. He went on to say that Trump is open to the proposal, provided it comes with stipulations to "buy American, hire American" in an attempt to reshape the economy. "When you support more manufacturing jobs, you can create a ripple effect to create more service-sector jobs that have been dislocated from the Covid-19 pandemic."
However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is arguing that there should be incentives to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., which could help with both pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. He also threw some support behind the idea of a payroll tax cut, which was, at one point, entertained by President Donald Trump. "The next stimulus bill needs to create demand, supply and investment signals to bring manufacturing to the U.S.," McCarthy said. "A payroll tax cut is critical to create the appropriate incentives for employers to keep workers working and is an implicit pay raise for the workers."
While the payroll tax cut has been floated before as a possible alternative to a second round of actual stimulus payments, some experts argued that it would do little to help the economy. Particularly when such cuts won't provide any sort of relief to the millions of people who are currently out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., it's unlikely the government will recommend another widespread shutdown. Which likely means that the discussion about the best approach will only intensify in the near future.