A Republican Senator now says a second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks is “going to happen.” That comment, and others, including from President Donald Trump, have made it increasingly likely that Americans will receive another round of relief, although it’s not clear what form it will take.
“It is going to happen, it’s just not going to happen yet,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe said, according to WFLA-TV. His comments came on June 26 after a GOP luncheon that focused on the issue.
There are some Republicans who favor a different approach than the first one: “Back-to-work” bonuses. “Back-to-work bonuses would provide extra payments to people who return to work,” CNBC reports, noting that Republicans tend to favor this approach, including some members of the Trump administration. Other possibilities under consideration include tax rebate checks or direct checks similar to the first round.
Many Americans received $1,200 stimulus checks in the first round last spring as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, costing many people jobs. With COVID-19 showing no signs of going way any time soon, Democrats in the House have advocated for a second round of stimulus checks, and they approved the HEROES Act to do just that in May. According to CNBC, the second round of stimulus checks could get families as much as $6,000, and they’d also include people who were left out the last time, like adult dependents (many of whom are college students.) Unemployment insurance would also be extended.
However, the HEROES Act has run into a major roadblock: The Republican-controlled Senate, which hasn’t acted on it. At first, comments out of the Senate didn’t sound very promising. According to CNBC, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) referred to the bill as “an unserious product from an unserious majority.”
Of late, though, comments from some Republicans, including Inhofe and the president, have indicated the GOP is likely to support some kind of a second round.
Here’s what you need to know:
Senator Inhofe Revealed That a GOP Senate Luncheon Was Filled With Talk of a Second Stimulus Check & Trump Has Also Indicated Support
According to WFLA, Inhofe revealed that “the idea of a second stimulus check fueled two hours of discussion at this week’s Senate Republican luncheon.”
However, he expressed caution as to the form the checks would take, saying, “What you don’t want to do is have a reward given to people who don’t want to work.” The station reported that a payroll tax holiday is also on the table, and a second round of stimulus checks would be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate in July, if it occurs.
According to Forbes, Inhofe also revealed, “the idea of a second stimulus check fueled two hours of discussion at the lunch,” and GOP Senators “were supportive, but working through details.” Forbes indicated that Republicans may be warming up to the idea of a second stimulus check round because President Trump is, which may be driven in part by concern over battleground polling numbers.
The Washington Post reported in late June that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also advocating for a second round of stimulus checks, although there remains some division among Republicans. Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, has said the checks could be tax rebates or direct mail checks, according to The Post.
Indeed, President Trump has bluntly indicated support for a second round of stimulus checks, saying recently, “We will be doing another stimulus package, it will be very good, very generous.”
The Washington Post reported: “President Trump has told aides he is largely supportive of sending Americans another round of stimulus checks, expressing the belief that the payments will boost the economy and help his chances at reelection in November.”
Top Republicans Floated the Idea of Back-to-Work Bonuses Back in May
At least one top Republican has floated making the second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks “back-to-work” bonuses instead. Back in May, Senator Rob Portman, D-Ohio, raised that idea instead of extending the federal unemployment insurance checks of $600 a week.
He told CNBC he was “talking to Republicans and Democrats about” giving people back-to-work bonuses instead.
“Why not provide a bonus to people to say, ‘If you go back to work, you can take some of this unemployment insurance with you.’ If you take $450, as an example, per week, remember this is per week, that would mean that in every state for minimum [wage] workers it would be more advantageous go back to work than to stay on unemployment insurance,” he said to the network then. “If you did a $450 bonus to workers, good for workers, they’re going to get their salary plus that.”
According to the Hill, a prominent GOP congressman introduced a similar plan for a “return to work bonus.” According to the Hill, the idea is “gaining traction among Republicans.”
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, introduced a proposal to give people who return to work after getting unemployment benefits up to $1,200.
“Through a Return To Work Bonus — which would allow workers to keep up to two weeks of unemployment benefits if they accept a job offer — we can make sure these temporary job losses don’t turn into permanent ones,” Brady said in a statement.
Both of their plans call for the checks to stop July 31.
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