President Donald Trump may have stepped in with executive action after negotiations on Capitol Hill collapsed. However, he is still holding out hope that Democrats and Republicans will strike a deal on a relief package that would include a second round of stimulus payments. White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany made that revelation as she spoke to reporters during a briefing Monday, during which she commented on the president's recently signed executive order and the current state of negotiations.
"The White House is still motivated," McEnany said, according to The New York Times. "The president would love to see the direct payments to Americans; the president would love to see the school funding. There are several items we would like to see happen."
At this time, the fate of an additional round of direct payments remains hanging in limbo. The measure had gained bipartisan support in the weeks leading up to the GOP's unveiling their HEALS Act proposal, which sought to give a second $1,200 payment to eligible Americans. A similar measure had been introduced months earlier by Democrats in the HEROES Act. The president had even voiced his support of the second round of payments, at one point even claiming that he would prefer to see payments even higher than what some Democrats had been pushing for.
Speaking with Joe St. George, National Political Editor & Washington Correspondent for Scripps in June, Trump had promised a "very generous" stimulus package that would include stimulus checks. Not long after, the president began advocating for "larger" payments, stating that he wanted "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."
As it became clear that a deal was nowhere close to being struck, however, the president bypassed Congress when signing an executive order and three memoranda on Saturday. Those orders target enhanced unemployment benefits, payroll tax cuts, evictions, and student loans, though, despite his support for stimulus payments, the orders do not at all deal with those. That is mainly because the president does not have the authority to issue direct payments to the American people. Such a move would have to be issued by Congress, which controls the purse. At this time, there still seems to be significant support for payments on both sides of the aisle, though the fate of such a measure relies on whether or not a deal can be struck.