After weeks of review and evaluation, Donald Trump is advocating for a "larger" stimulus check than the one previously discussed, attached to the CARES Act earlier this year. In an interview with Fox News this past Wednesday, the president claims he wants the long-awaited second round of stimulus payments to be larger than the CARES Act's $1,200 payment.
"I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it's got to be done properly," Trump said. "I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion." He also said that the next stimulus package should create a "great incentive to work," which was in reference to the extra $600 in unemployment benefits that came bundled in the CARES Act.
The question of a second stimulus package has been in discussion since March as a means to keep the economy afloat during widespread shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the House of Representatives has already passed the HEROES Act, which would include another $1,200 payment, the chances of it passing the Senate are low. However, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that a second payment will be the topic of discussion after the Congressional body reconvenes after the July 4th holiday weekend.
"What I can tell you, without fear of contradiction, is the focus will be kids, jobs, and health care," McConnell said at a press conference on Tuesday. He added that "any bill that passes the Senate" would also contain liability protections "for everybody who interacted with this pandemic" and that it is "extremely important" to include protections for the tens of millions who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. McConnell also said that beginning such discussions in July would allow the Senate to "take an assessment of the economy and the progress we're making on the health care front."
On Tuesday, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig was also called to the Senate to answer questions about the numerous difficulties that became synonymous with the first round of stimulus checks. "So far, approximately 160 million economic impact payments have been distributed, totaling approximately $270 billion," Rettig told the Senate Finance Committee. "However, there is more to do. The IRS remains focused on making sure every eligible American receives a payment."