Everyone is eagerly waiting for the next stimulus package and more stimulus checks. However, negotiators haven’t yet reached a consensus. Last month, President Donald Trump did offer some interim relief by signing executive orders on unemployment benefits. Now he has a good idea to send coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans.
On Friday, Trump suggested that Congress use $300 billion of unused pandemic relief funds to send coronavirus stimulus checks to Americans. In a White House press briefing, Trump said he would have gone ahead with the idea himself, but he would like to have the approval of Congress for it.
According to Trump, he would “like to get approval from Congress. There’s a theory that I don’t have to do that, but I’d rather be up front and I’d like to get approval from Congress.”
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“We have $300 billion ready to go, all Congress has to do is say, ‘Use it.’ I’d like to use it without their permission but I guess I’m not allowed,” he said.
Trump also called on Democrats in Congress to give a “one sentence approval” so that he can redirect the funds towards checks.
“I could give it to the people as a very powerful stimulus,” he said.
Trump’s idea to send coronavirus stimulus checks comes amid a stalemate over the next stimulus package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now demanding a package of $2.2 trillion, but Republicans so far have raised their offer to $1.3 trillion. There is also talk that the Senate is readying a $500 billion package that doesn’t include stimulus checks.
Which funds does Trump want to use?
Trump did not clearly talk about the source he wants to tap to send the checks, but he was likely referring to the unused business loan money. Later a White House official clarified that the funds used for the checks would be part of the $450 billion fund established with the Treasury Department to support emergency lending programs amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bloomberg.
Not much has been distributed from the Treasury’s and Fed’s emergency pandemic programs, especially their Main Street program for small and medium businesses. Last month, the Congressional Oversight Commission noted that lenders had used only $472 million of more than $600 billion available under the Main Street program.
As of now, there have been no comments from Democrats or other lawmakers about Trump’s latest idea to send coronavirus stimulus checks. This seems to be a good idea of using unused funds to send checks. However, Pelosi is unlikely to accept this because accepting it would mean giving Trump some leverage with the election just two months away.