A group of 156 economists has penned an open letter to the U.S. government, urging it to continue providing financial relief to the American people in the form of direct cash payments. A second, third and even fourth round of stimulus payments is “essential,” the group wrote, in order to hasten the country’s economic recovery.
The letter was published on July 11, titled “Open letter from economists on automatic triggers for cast stimulus payments.” The letter reads in part:
Regular, lasting direct stimulus payments will boost consumer spending, driving the economic recovery and shortening the recession. Right now, most Americans are just trying to keep their heads above water. The first round of economic impact payments were a lifeline that helped some get by for a few weeks — early research shows that people are spending the stimulus checks quickly and on essentials — but the worst is not over. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of GDP, so reviving the economy will require sustained efforts to strengthen it. Even after businesses start to re-open and jobs begin to come back, there will be significant economic fallout, and demand will continue to lag if people don’t have money to spend. Regular direct stimulus payments tied to economic indicators will help families stay afloat and drive economic activity.
The economists pushed for a number of other measures, including extended unemployment benefits, enhanced SNAP benefits, additional child care funding and more. According to the Economic Policy Institute, approximately 11% of the workforce in America is unemployed and unlikely to get back their previous job in the near future.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Has Pushed for a ‘Larger’ Second Round of Stimulus Payments; His Economic Advisor Has Pushed for the Opposite
The White House has not yet responded to the open letter by economists urging monthly recurring payments. However, President Donald Trump and his administration have indicated their interest in another round of stimulus payments — but it’s not clear how much the payments would be for or who would be eligible.
On July 6, Trump told Jessi Turnure, a reporter for Nextar Washington, “We are working on another stimulus package, and that will take place … very soon.”
In an interview with Fox Business’ Blake Burman earlier in the month, Trump said, “I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly. I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion.”
On the other hand, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow recently said that far fewer Americans would receive a second round of payments in the Trump administration’s upcoming stimulus package.
Kudlow’s comments came during a session with reporters on July 10. He said that the next round of direct payments for Americans will be less than the $1,200 provided in the first round and that the direct payments would go to a much smaller portion of the American people, according to Fox Business.
Congress Will Be in Session From July 20 to August 8; After That, it Takes a Month-Long Recess
Any hopes of the passage of another stimulus package this summer will rest on the three-week period from mid-July to early August, during which the House and Senate will be in session and will be able to debate and vote on any stimulus package that reaches the floor.
The Democrat-controlled House passed the HEROES Act and has reflected a majority interest in another round of stimulus checks. On the other hand, the GOP members of the Republican-controlled Senate have largely rejected the idea of another round of payments — until recently, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated his potential support for a second round.
On July 6, McConnell spoke to reporters at a press conference about what he’s “looking for” in a stimulus package. He said, “So if you’re looking for what I think is a theme of a next package that I’m likely to roll out here in a few weeks, it would focus on liability reform, kids in school, jobs and health care.”
As for whether he approved of a second round of checks, he said there “could well be” another round in the next stimulus package and added, “I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less.”
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