The Trump administration is offering $600 stimulus checks for Americans in a bid to break a months-long stalemate over a second COVID-19 stimulus relief package.
According to MLive, the $600 proposal came from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. However, Pelosi has already indicated she won’t agree with the president’s overall relief proposal, which includes the checks.
However, there’s a catch; according to Mlive, the $600 checks would be in exchange for Democrats to remove $300 in weekly unemployment benefits from the relief package. Republicans have consistently raised concern that enhanced jobless benefits create too much of an incentive for people not to work, while Democrats have insisted people need them to survive.
The negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress have broken down for months because neither side can agree on the overall pricetag of a second relief plan, which has ranged from $500 billion supported by Republicans to $2.2 trillion desired by Democrats.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Treasury Secretary Revealed the Administration Was Proposing a $916 Billion Overall Package
In a December 8 statement, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said, “Speaker Pelosi and I spoke today at 5 p.m., and on behalf of the President, I presented a $916 Billion proposal, which is a slightly larger package than the bipartisan proposal of $908 Billion. This proposal includes money for state and local governments and robust liability protections for businesses, schools and universities.”
He added, “As part of this proposal, we will fund it using $140 Billion in unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and $429 Billion in Treasury funds. Chief Meadows and I have reviewed the proposal with the President, Leader McConnell, and Leader McCarthy.”
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) December 8, 2020
According to Mnuchin, “I look forward to achieving bipartisan agreement so we can provide this critical economic relief to American workers, families and businesses.”
Democrats Say They Prefer the Bipartisan Group to Take the Lead
On Twitter, Pelosi has already expressed her opposition to the new proposal. “While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer based on the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal, which cuts unemployment insurance by $140 billion compared to the framework, is unacceptable,” she wrote.
“The President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.”
In a letter, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also released this statement:
While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway. Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.
The President’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable.
The bipartisan plan doesn’t include stimulus checks.