Lawmakers do not yet appear to have resumed negotiations for a new coronavirus relief package, leading President Trump to suggest sending out a second round of stimulus checks with unused funds from the first bill. During a press briefing on Friday, Trump said, "Now, we have $300 billion in a — an account that we didn’t use — $300 billion. And we are willing to use that."
Trump added, "I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money, and it would go right to the American people. So we have $300 billion sitting in an account that we didn’t need because things are going so well with the economy." While the president did not provide specifics on where this money is coming from, Fox Business reports that Trump might be referring to funds that had initially been allocated for small business loans. As part of the Cares Act, Congress designated $500 billion, and from that amount, $454 billion was set aside to cover any losses from lending programs. Now, around $259 billion of that money is left and has not been re-designated anywhere else.
Trump is looking at $300 billion in unspent relief money and asking Congress to let him send that money directly to American citizens as stimulus checks, calling it "a very appropriate thing to do" that he is "willing to do."https://t.co/YjZQFTGGwI #YangGang pic.twitter.com/raSiVmm5vb— Scott Santens🧢🏄♂️ (@scottsantens) September 5, 2020
"Again, we have $300 billion ready to go," Trump continued. "All Congress has to do is say, 'Use it.' If they say, 'Use it' — I’d like to use it without their permission, but I guess I’m not allowed to do that. I did ask that question. So Congress has to just say, 'Use it.' All they have to do is say, 'Use it;' $300 billion gets immediately put into our system, and will really help the American people. There’s nothing else to do — just a very quick statement."
There is currently no way of knowing how the negotiations over the new stimulus bill will go, but it is possible that lawmakers could approve a bill that gives $1,200 to all citizens — $2,400 to married couples who file their taxes jointly — and their dependents, up to three. This is the amount outlined in the HEROES Act, which was passed by the House in May. The Cares Act only provided $500 for dependents. At this time, there is no word on when official relief bill negotiations will resume.