The Senate seems primed to start working on another coronavirus stimulus package once the two-week July 4 recess is over. It could include a second one-time economic impact payment from the IRS, but it will be more targeted specifically to low-income Americans. Republican Senators had been slow to support a second stimulus check at all, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began talking about a compromise idea this week.
During a stop in Bardstown, Kentucky Monday, McConnell was asked about a stimulus check in an upcoming package. "I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. So that could well be a part of it," he said. The Kentucky senator mentioned this proposal again during a visit to a coronavirus testing lab in Covington Thursday.
When asked about this idea on CNBC Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to go into specifics on how the White House feels about it. Mnuchin said he did have a "very productive call" with McConnell earlier. The White House does "support" a second economic impact payment, Mnuchin said, adding, "As soon as the Senate gets back, we’re going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats and it will be our priority that between the 20th and the end of the month, we’re going to pass the next legislation."
The $40,000 threshold is different from the first direct stimulus payment, which was included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, signed into law in late March. That law included a one-time $1,200 payment for individual American taxpayers earning $75,000 or less annually. Couples making $150,000 or less qualified for $2,400. Young Americans under 17 also received $500, added to the payment sent to the taxpayer who claimed them as dependents. Individuals who earned under $99,000 annually also received smaller stimulus payments, based on their income. Americans began receiving their payments in mid-April.
Republicans were not in a rush to pass another stimulus package before the July 4 holiday, arguing that they needed to see more of the CARE Act put into practice. House Democrats did pass a $3 trillion package called the HEROES Act, which did include a second stimulus check, but Republicans did not take it up in the Senate. "That would have doubled the debt that we already have," McConnell said of the HEROES Act Thursday, reports WVXU.
"There are several Republicans who have expressed interest in supporting low-income families with cash aid," Lily Roberts, director of the nonpartisan Center for American Progress, told CNET. "It's nearly impossible to look at the economy right now and not recognize that the unemployment insurance payments that have been going out, the cash that went out in April — those have helped people hang on."