CORONAVIRUS

Why is Trump talking about a bipartisan stimulus check?

Donald Trump says they are talking about a second stimulus check that could arrive in a 'couple of weeks' but what does he mean by 'a bipartisan deal'

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Why is Trump talking about a bipartisan stimulus check?
Leah Millis REUTERS

Donald Trump was asked recently about a second stimulus check for US citizens during the coronavirus pandemic and his answer was positive. "Yes," Trump responded to the question about whether they were planning a second check. "We are. We are…."

The president of the the United States said it would be "very generous and very good" for the country. He was light on the details of the check but said: "I think it’s going to be bi-partisan, I think it’s going to be over the couple of weeks, probably."

Trump said yes to the stimulus check but he went on to say there would be another round of stimulus relief. These are two very different things. The first, like the one signed into law via the CARES Act at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, would mean another round of stimulus checks sent directly to struggling Americans.

The second can entail many different measures and not specifically money in the form of checks. For example, the Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act of 2020 has been proposed and it would aim to help small businesses to remain operational. The 'Explore America' tax break, which would encourage people to travel and visit restaurants, has been explicitly declared as 'not a stimulus check'.

What did Trump mean when he said bipartisan stimulus package?

Democrats sent a bill to the House of Representatives which was successful. It was sent to the Republican-controlled Senate where it has not been as warmly welcomed. The HEROES Act includes a round of fresh payments for Americans but there are differences between it and the initial CARES Act. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat house speaker said the Democrats had shown their hand with the passing of the HEROES Act and negotiating could now begin. Republicans pushed back publicly and said it would be 'dead on arrival' once it reached the Senate. Republican Mitch McConnell, has dismissed the package as “another big laundry list of pet priorities”.

Republicans are aware that something has to be done. Trump himself has been vocal about his support for a second stimulus package. Offering citizens money directly is seen as a little too radical, however, for some of those in the Republican party. They are hell-bent on getting the economy back on track and this is why Trump mentioned a bi-partisan agreement on stimulus relief.

“As President Trump has said, we are going to ensure that we take care of all Americans so that we emerge from this challenge healthy, stronger, and with economic prosperity, which is why the White House is focused on pro-growth, middle class tax and regulatory relief,” the White House said in a statement back in May about a second stimulus package.

Trump has also said "we’re talking about that with a lot of different people" about the potential for further stimulus. What that means exactly remains to be seen hut negotiations and political positioning has begun.

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