Second stimulus check: is a $2,000 payment possible?
Trump raised hopes this week by pushing hard for a bill not just double, but triple the offer currently on the table. But is he all talk and no action?
As reported by the Washington Post, two people familiar with the situation shared details of a private exchange Thursday. As Donald Trump pushed to issue a statement calling for substantially larger stimulus checks for millions of Americans, White House aides intervened to stop him.
On the phone call Thursday afternoon, Trump told members of his team that he believes stimulus payments in the next relief package should be “at least” $1,200 per person and possibly as big as $2,000 per person, the officials said. Advisors to the president warned him off making such a demand, as it could imperil the delicate talks in progress over the economic relief package.
In March, a bipartisan bill named the CARES Act approved millions of payments worth up to $1,200 for over 100 million qualifying Americans. Since then, Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating on a new large-scale stimulus bill to no avail, with scope and scale of the bill proving insurmountable sticking points.
Trump tweeted Thursday “All-time Stock Market high. The Vaccine and the Vaccine rollout are getting the best of reviews. Moving along really well. Get those “shots” everyone! Also, stimulus talks looking very good.”
What did the White House say in response?
A White House spokesman refused to comment on the exchange but issued a statement saying that the Trump administration was working on approving another round of checks as talks continue in Congress.
“The President has heard from Americans all over the country who are hurting through no fault of their own, and he’s made clear he wants the next round of relief to include stimulus checks at a significant number,” said Ben Williamson, the White House spokesman. “We’re working with Congress to settle on an agreement that can pass as soon as possible.”
What is the bill that’s already being prepared in Congress?
This week, congressional leadership has been preparing a stimulus package that would provide checks of half the amount issued in the spring, $600 per person and $600 for children. Republicans are demanding that the total price tag remain under $1 trillion and larger stimulus checks would almost certainly push the total above $1tn.
There’s another bill that was introduced at the start of December by a cross-party group of moderates, but as it didn’t contain provision for stimulus checks at all, was a non-starter.
Donald Trump again called publicly for generous stimulus payouts, blaming Democrats for the lack of agreement, “right now, I want to see checks — for more money than they’re talking about — going to people,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday. “I’m pushing it very hard, and to be honest with you, if the Democrats really wanted to do the deal, they’d do the deal.”
In the fall when GOP members of Congress prioritised pushing through the controversial nomination of Supreme Court justice Amy Coney Barrett, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explicitly highlighted that the priority for Congress was not stimulus, which ultimately caused weeks of delays in the ongoing negotiations.