Many Americans have been wondering if there will be a second coronavirus stimulus check, although millions have yet to receive their first one. Now it sounds like lawmakers are considering an alternative approach. They could allow struggling Americans to borrow from their future Social Security benefits to take a second coronavirus stimulus check soon.
A loan for a second coronavirus stimulus check?
The Washington Post reported that senior White House officials are considering a plan offered by conservative scholars. The proposal would allow Americans to elect to receive a second coronavirus stimulus check of up to $5,000. In exchange for the payment, recipients' Social Security benefits would be delayed. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and Joshua Rauh of Stanford University's Hoover Institution floated the plan.
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The so-called "Eagle Plan" is a 29-page memo that suggests federal retirement programs be overhauled so Americans could receive financial assistance during the pandemic. Biggs and Rauh explained their proposal to pay for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks in a post for The Hill last month.
The plan suggests delaying Social Security benefits for three months at the most for Americans who accept a second coronavirus stimulus check. Those who decide not to receive a check would receive their benefits on time without any changes.
The White House reportedly rejected the plan. A spokesperson told the Post that President Trump has said he will protect Medicare and Social Security while he is in the White House.
Other talk about a second round of stimulus
Democrats have been suggesting providing a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks in various ways. Republicans have been concerned about spending even more money, further increasing the federal government's debt load. Some are looking for cuts in other areas before spending any more money on stimulus to deal with the pandemic.
That doesn't mean there won't be a second coronavirus stimulus check. Fox News reports that on Monday when Trump was asked about a Democratic plan to send more checks to Americans, he said they are "talking about that with a number of different people."
The president has repeatedly said he wants payroll tax cuts to be part of any additional stimulus package. The third phase of stimulus included a payroll tax cut for employers, but Trump wants to see employees included in that same tax cut in the fourth phase, especially as more and more Americans become able to return to work.
Phase 4 coming?
Trump has also said he wants Phase 4 of coronavirus stimulus to include infrastructure spending to help more Americans get back to work. He said last month that since interest rates are now at zero, now is the time to do the infrastructure bill they have been waiting on for "decades." He called for $2 trillion to be spent on infrastructure and adding jobs. On Friday, the president said he was in "no rush" to talk about the next phase of coronavirus stimulus.
The House hasn't yet revealed its Phase 4 of coronavirus stimulus, which is another multi-trillion-dollar bill. Democrats have been calling for more direct payments to individuals, expanded unemployment benefits, further assistance for small businesses and a big emphasis on aid for state and local governments.
However, Trump isn't interested in bailing out "poorly run" states that have major pension deficits and other budget problems that were going on before the coronavirus hit.