coronavirus

Second round of stimulus checks: Are Republicans pushing for it?

The proposed HEROES Act includes a second round of stimulus payments but which party are pressing to ensure struggling Americans receive more relief aid?

Second round of stimulus checks: Are Republicans pushing for it?
Maddie Meyer AFP

While some members of the Senate are keen to cool down spending on more coronavirus relief packages - or at least wait to see how the situation develops in June, several Republican party members are pressing for a second round of stimulus payments to help struggling Americans ride out the financial crisis.

The House of Representatives recently passed a $3 trillion HEROES Act – part of which includes additional stimulus payments to American citizens on top of the benefits they have received from the CARES Act. Republicans have voiced opposition to the bill and claimed it will not get through the Senate.

US debt spiralling out of control

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cautioned that the government needs to think carefully before agreeing to a new round of relief aid but others are claiming that more financial help is urgently needed to prevent their states from total collapse. Senator for Maine Susan Collins has voiced support for the State Municipal Assistance for Response and Transition (SMART) Act which promises to provide $500 billion in funding for every state. But many have questioned her motives, especially as she has been losing support within her own state according to recent polls.

Senator for Colorado Cory Gardner has called an extra $500 billion in funding as well as modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support small businesses in the state. Gardner has teamed up with Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley for their Rehire America proposal, which aims to promote rehiring workers who were laid off due to the pandemic and support a percent of wages for each worker currently on payroll through the end of the year. The proposal also calls for Congress to provide grants for rent, utilities, mortgage interest, and other fixed costs based on historic revenues. "The number one priority right now needs to be jobs,” he says. The government owes it to the American people to help get them their jobs back. Our economy will continue to haemorrhage unless Congress gets serious about ways to rehire workers and get Americans working again”.

Lockdown restrictions easing in the US

Others however, feel the worst is over, “States are re-opening, so now we’re not in the same dire, emergency, rushing-through situation like we were before," noted Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko.