Top Trump administration officials said Sunday that Republicans are including another batch of stimulus checks in their proposal set to be unveiled this week, a revival of a popular element of the March rescue package, although the GOP is bent on reducing enhanced unemployment benefits, another favored benefit.
“There’s a $1,200 check coming, that’s going to be part of the new package,” White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNN Sunday.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also mentioned the checks on Fox News Sunday, after saying on Saturday that Americans would start receiving the second payments in August.
Mnuchin and Kudlow were aligned on capping enhanced unemployment at 70% of each worker’s lost wages, saying that the weekly $600 disincentivizes people from going back to work.
Two Republican senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, are working to include nearly 2 million U.S. citizens who are married to foreign nationals, who were left out from receiving the first payment at the White House’s direction due to their spouses not having valid Social Security numbers.
What likely won’t be included in the GOP’s proposal: a payroll tax cut, which was favored by President Trump but rejected by Republicans in Congress.
What to watch for
The other elements of the GOP proposal, which Mnuchin said would be unveiled Monday. In addition to the checks, Kudlow said the federal government would extend the eviction moratorium implemented in March, which means more renters won’t lose their housing because they couldn’t pay rent. Kudlow also said there would be a reemployment bonus and retention tax credit bonus for Americans going back to work.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She told CNN Sunday that the enhanced unemployment and other stimulus benefits are “so essential” and argued against the Republican proposal to peg them to every worker’s lost wages. “Let me just say: the reason we had $600 was its simplicity. Why don’t we just keep it simple?”
The eligibility criteria to receive the second stimulus check is likely to mirror the first round, which means that recipients will make annual wages of $75,000 or less in order to receive the full $1,200. Trump has previously supported a second round of checks, which many Democrats were in agreement with. Republicans, however, have been divided over this part of the package, with some lawmakers suggesting that checks be issued in a lower amount this time around. Democrats in May passed their version of the fifth rescue package, the HEROES Act, which included another batch of $1,200 checks.
Dead people were among the group of Americans who received stimulus checks beginning in April. Up to $1.4 billion of stimulus funds were issued to the deceased before the federal government canceled the checks in June.