President Donald Trump (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Donald Trump says Congress should send second stimulus checks now and use $300 billion in remaining Covid relief funds.
Here’s what you need to know.
During remarks Friday at The White House, Trump said Congress should redirect unused Coronavirus relief funds to fund second stimulus checks for the American people.
“Now, we have $300 billion in a — an account that we didn’t use — $300 billion,” Trump said. “And we are willing to use that. 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.”
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According to Fox Business, Trump may be referring to money appropriated for small business loans. As part of the Cares Act — the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that that Congress approved in March — Congress appropriated $500 billion. Of that amount, $454 billion was appropriated to cover losses on lending programs. Of that funding, $259 billion remains uncommitted.
“Again, we have $300 billion ready to go,” Trump said. “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.”
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have agreed in principle on a $1,200 second stimulus check for individuals and $2,400 check for married/joint filers, which is the same amount as the first stimulus check. However, Republicans want $500 for dependents, while Democrats called for $1,200 for each dependent, with a maximum of three dependents. After an impasse on a broader stimulus package, Congress has not approved a second stimulus check since leaving for summer recess in mid-August.
Stimulus update: Congress back in session
The Senate is back in session tomorrow. What’s the latest update on the stimulus? Senate Republicans may propose a new “skinny” stimulus bill as early as this week. The new stimulus legislation could be approximately $500 billion, which is roughly half the size of the Heals Act, which Senate Republicans proposed earlier this summer. This new stimulus bill could include several areas where there may be bipartisan support on policy topics, but not necessarily on funding amounts:
- $300 weekly unemployment benefits
- $105 billion in school funding
- $250 billion in funding for the Payment Protection Program (PPP)
- $10 billion grant to the U.S. Postal Service
However, the new stimulus bill is not expected to include any stimulus checks. However, it’s possible after Trump’s remarks that Republicans could alter the proposed legislation to include a second round of checks. Will this new legislation pass? It’s unlikely. While more Senate Republicans would support a smaller legislative proposal, Democrats want a larger bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-CA) are likely unwilling to agree on an even smaller bill than the Heals Act, which at $1 trillion was deemed too small. Democrats initially proposed a $3 trillion stimulus package (the Heroes Act), although Pelosi said Democrats would be willing to agree to a $2.2 trillion bill.
“The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “Let’s do a more targeted bill now and if we need to do more in 30 days we’ll continue to do more, but let’s not hold up the American workers and the American businesses that need more support.”
Democrats want $1 trillion in funding for state and local governments, $600 weekly unemployment benefits and $60 billion for food insecurity, among other initiatives.