Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the "priority" for the White House and Congress will be to get a new coronavirus stimulus package passed within the last 10 days of July. The package could include a second economic impact payment, but it will be more limited in scope than the previous one included in March's $2.2 trillion CARES Act. As some Republican Senators seemed apprehensive about supporting another stimulus payment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came up with a compromise to focus solely on low-income families.
During an interview with CNBC Thursday, Mnuchin said the White House does "support another round of economic impact payments," which President Donald Trump has made clear in the past. "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," Mnuchin explained. The Senate has been on a two-week July 4 recess since July 3.
On Monday, McConnell said he would support another stimulus check specifically for people making $40,000 or less per year, including those who work in the hospitality industry. "The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked — hotels, restaurants — and so that could well be a part of it," McConnell said at the time. Mnuchin declined to comment on these specifics Thursday but said he had a "very productive call" with the Kentucky senator.
McConnell was asked about the next stimulus package again while visiting coronavirus testing lab in Covington, Kentucky. In addition to the stimulus payment, he wants the next bill to include universal liability protection. "Unless you were grossly negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct, we're not going to subject you to an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the health care pandemic that we're already having to deal with," he said, reports WXVU.
Republicans have sought to make the next stimulus package not only the last but also smaller compared to the previous ones. With the new threshold for stimulus checks, the new spending package would be kept at around $1 trillion, notes CNBC. The threshold for the CARES Act's payment was set at $75,000 per year for individuals and $150,000 per year for couples filing jointly. Any American taxpayer with incomes under that level was eligible for a one-time $1,200 payment.
McConnell has also dismissed even considering the $3 trillion HEROES Act House Democrats passed in lay May. "That would have doubled the debt that we already have," he said Thursday. That bill also included another one-time economic income payment, with some households eligible for up to $6,000.