Stimulus Checks: Democrats and White House Agree on Second $1,200 Payment

President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats still disagree on several issues when it comes to the next coronavirus stimulus package. Still Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two sides do agree on some points, including sending direct stimulus checks to Americans. There still has not been a second stimulus check to follow the one sent after the CARES Act passed in March. However, both House Democrats' HEROES Act and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's HEALS Act proposal included a new $1,200 check to eligible individuals. The White House and Democrats began negotiating a new deal last week after McConnell introduced his plan on Monday.

During an appearance on ABC News' This Week Sunday morning, Mnuchin noted that the two sides are in full agreement on a second stimulus check to the amount of $1,200. However, he also outlined the differences between the two parties after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on the show. Mnuchin said there are "very contentious" issues for both sides. The White House does not support Democrats' call for more funds to help state and local governments because "we're not going to do to bail out those states that had financial issues." However, the two sides do agree on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, as well as "checks in the mail," referring to the stimulus payments. Mnuchin said there were "enormous bipartisan results" when it came to these topics.

Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have been the chief negotiators for the White House in the talks with Democratic leaders. Immediately after the meeting, the two sides told reporters there was progress made but still a long way to go. Meadows told reporters there were "still substantial differences, but we did make good progress."

One of the significant differences has been on the federal unemployment benefits, which expired on Friday with no extension. The benefits, established in the CARES Act, sent over 30 million unemployed Americans $600 per week, through July 31. Republicans did offer a temporary extension, but Democrats rejected that idea because they want the program extended as part of a bigger package. Pelosi also blasted a Republican proposal to drop the benefits down to just $200. In the HEALS Act, McConnell proposed cutting the benefit to $200 through the end of September, by which point states are supposed to have a system set up so unemployed Americans would receive 70% of their lost wages through a combination of federal and state benefits.

"We (Democrats) are unified in our support for the $600," Pelosi said on This Week. "They're in disarray on many of their members in the Senate; Republican members don't want any addition. And we're saying three things — support our state and local heroes, strategic big plan to end the virus, and third put money in the pockets of America's working families and we do that. And we have other issues that relate to food that are contentious."