President Donald Trump says Congress should send second stimulus checks now and use $300 billion in remaining Covid relief funds.
Here’s what you need to know.
During remarks Friday at The White House, Trump said Congress should redirect unused Coronavirus relief funds to fund second stimulus checks for the American people.
“We have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use,” Trump said. “I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money and it would go right to the American people.”
According to Fox Business, Trump may be referring to money appropriated for small business loans. As part of the Cares Act — the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that that Congress approved in March — Congress appropriated $500 billion. Of that amount, $454 billion was appropriated to cover losses on lending programs. Of that funding, $259 billion remains uncommitted.
“It’s money that we have — money that we built up and money that we haven’t spent, and I would love to give it to the American people as a very powerful stimulus,” Trump said. “I think there is a theory that I could do it without having to go back, but I think it would be appropriate to go back, and I would ask Congress to approve it. It’s a very simple approval. It’s literally, it’s a one-sentence approval, and the Democrats should do that. The Republicans will do that. They would be glad to do that.”
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have agreed in principle on a $1,200 second stimulus check for individuals and $2,400 check for married/joint filers, which is the same amount as the first stimulus check. However, Republicans want $500 for dependents, while Democrats called for $1,200 for each dependent, with a maximum of three dependents. After an impasse on a broader stimulus package, Congress has not approved a second stimulus check since leaving for summer recess in mid-August.
Stimulus update: Congress back in session
The Senate is back in session tomorrow. What’s the latest update on the stimulus? Senate Republicans may propose a new “skinny” stimulus bill as early as this week. The new stimulus legislation could be approximately $500 billion, which is roughly half the size of the Heals Act, which Senate Republicans proposed earlier this summer. This new stimulus bill could include several areas where there is bipartisan support:
- enhanced unemployment benefits
- school funding
- small business loans
- Coronavirus testing and vaccines
However, the new stimulus bill would not include any stimulus checks. However, it’s possible after Trump’s remarks that Republicans could alter the proposed legislation to include a second round of checks. Will this new legislation pass? It’s unlikely. While more Senate Republicans would support a smaller legislative proposal, Democrats want a larger bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-CA) are likely unwilling to agree on an even smaller bill than the Heals Act, which at $1 trillion, was deemed too small. Democrats initially proposed a $3 trillion stimulus package (the Heroes Act), although Pelosi said Democrats would be willing to agree to a $2.2 trillion bill.
“The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “Let’s do a more targeted bill now and if we need to do more in 30 days we’ll continue to do more, but let’s not hold up the American workers and the American businesses that need more support.”