It is unclear whether Americans should be looking forward to a second coronavirus stimulus check. On Friday, Kevin Hassett, a senior economic advisor to the Trump administration, said there would “definitely” be another round of checks, according to Newsweek, but Senator Mitt Romney said last week that the prospect of another round of payments is “unlikely,” Forbes reported.
As Newsweek points out, a May employment report showed an addition of 2.5 million jobs with an unemployment rate of 13.3%, down from 14.7% in April. Speaking to Fox Business on Friday, Newsweek quotes Hassett as saying, “There definitely will be [another relief package], but one of the things the president has instructed the team to do is to watch the numbers carefully and … have a menu of options that’s conditional on how the economy’s doing.”
On May 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a stimulus relief package known as the HEROES Act, which would include a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to eligible citizens. While that particular bill was always likely to face opposition in the Republican-dominated Senate, President Donald Trump suggested that another round of payments was likely. In early May, Trump said at a press briefing, “We could very well do a second round of direct payments. It is absolutely under serious consideration.”
Last Friday, when asked about a second stimulus payment during a press briefing, Trump replied, “We’ll be asking for additional stimulus money,” he said. “Because once we get this going, it’ll be far bigger and far better than we’ve ever seen in this country — that includes as of three of four months ago, when everyone thought it was great and it was great.”
Senate Republicans, however, have voiced their skepticism about issuing a second round of checks.
Last Tuesday, AS.com reports that Republicans said they would rather “focus their attention on Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program rather than sending Americans checks.”
Senator Lindsey Graham has echoed those sentiments. The Hill quotes Graham as saying, “I’m not enthused about another round of rebate checks. … I do believe we should be helping people on Social Security because the price of food has gone up and I don’t see any end in sight. A payment to Social Security recipients who are on fixed income of $50,000 and below might make sense.”
A handful of Democrats still seem to be fighting for aid for struggling Americans. Last Monday, Senator Kamala Harris and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang suggested a proposal that would mean a monthly payment of up to $2,000 for qualifying Americans for as long as the coronavirus pandemic lasts, according to Fortune.
During the virtual town hall, Harris said, “Forty million–plus people lost their jobs within the last 100 days. The government should be here for the people in a moment of crisis. People should be able to count on their government to see them and to create a safety net for them, so that these people don’t fall into poverty—or further into poverty—during the course of this pandemic.”
Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic Senator Ed Markey have proposed the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which would deliver payments of up to $2,000 per month to Americans making up to $120,000. Payments would be gradually reduced for those making over $100,000, according to Fortune.
A Decision on a Second Stimulus Check Has Been Delayed in the Wake of Protests Over the Death of George Floyd
According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not scheduled a vote on a Senate relief package before July 4.
In the wake of George Floyd‘s death and the protests taking place across the country, the focus on both sides of the aisle has shifted away from the HEROES Act and to the passing of a law enforcement reform bill.