There has been plenty of debate about whether there will be a second round of stimulus checks for the general public. Lawmakers have generally seemed uninterested in the idea, with many questioning whether a second stimulus check is needed.
However, the chances of there being a second round of stimulus checks have just increased sharply.
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Trump supports second round of stimulus checks
Scripps correspondent Joe St. George asked President Donald Trump in an interview whether he would send a second round of stimulus checks to Americans. He said they would, and when pressed on the timing, he said it will be "over the next couple of weeks, probably."
St. George asked Trump how much the checks would be, and he didn't have an answer, although he did say they would be "generous." The president added that the U.S. economy had been running the best it ever had before, and then the coronavirus came in. Now officials are in the process of rebuilding the economy, and Trump said there will be another stimulus package.
Trump also said the bill containing the second round of stimulus checks will be bipartisan. That's a pretty safe bet because it will have to be in order to pass both the GOP-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
You can watch the full interview here:
VIDEO: President Trump commits to 2nd stimulus. He says details would be announced in the coming weeks. The President would not tell me how much of a check Americans will receive. pic.twitter.com/Abd5E8P3Au
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) June 22, 2020
This is the first time in weeks that President Trump has expressed a definite willingness to send a second round of stimulus checks. In early May, Trump said there was "no rush" on the phase four stimulus package, and the economic numbers weren't as strong as they are now.
White house still split on the issue
It is definitely good news that the president supports a second round of stimulus checks, but it remains to be seen whether the provision will receive bipartisan support in the phase four package. Trump isn't just talking publicly about sending more checks. He is telling his aides the same thing.
Sources reportedly told The Washington Post that the president generally supports a second round of stimulus checks. He believes the checks will not only stimulate the economy but also increase his chances of reelection in November.
Despite Trump's support for a second round of stimulus checks, top Republicans in Congress and a number of senior White House officials are skeptical about the idea of sending more checks. As a result, the Post reports that a rift has formed within conservative circles, and that could become a major factor when it comes time to negotiate the phase four stimulus package.
The president's allies and advisers are split on the topic of additional checks. Two sources reportedly told the Post that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has supported a second round of checks. However, one source said White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow is skeptical about sending checks to the same number of people who received the payments the first time around.
Many conservatives and congressional Republicans oppose a second round of stimulus checks because of the impact they will have on the federal budget deficit. Some White House officials have also noted internally that some Americans saved the money instead of spending it within the economy. They pointed to a significant increase in personal savings after the first round of checks was sent.
One Trump administration official reportedly told the Post that the White House could support a second round of stimulus checks that is more targeted at lower-income Americans instead of sending checks to as many people who received them the first time around.
Will a second round of stimulus checks make the cut?
Whatever ends up being in the phase four stimulus package, lawmakers will certainly have to make a lot of compromises. It's unclear whether a second round of stimulus checks will end up being one of the items lawmakers are willing to compromise on in order to get the other provisions they want passed.
According to the Post, Republicans in Congress might be more willing to support more stimulus checks if Democrats will agree to a significant reduction in the extra unemployment benefit. The CARES Act in March included an extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits, resulting in many workers being paid more on unemployment than they were on the job. Republicans oppose an extension of that benefit because they don't want to incentivize people to stay out of work as long as possible.