It is almost certain that there will be no stimulus checks before the end of the year. This, however, does not seem to be stopping the outgoing president from asking for more stimulus checks for Americans. President Donald Trump asked Congress to approve coronavirus stimulus checks of “more money” than what is being currently discussed by the lawmakers.
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Coronavirus stimulus checks: President wants "more money"
On Sunday, in a television interview, Trump says he has been “pushing very hard” to get the relief package. He also criticized Democrats for not coming to the negotiating table.
“I'm pushing it very hard, and to be honest with you, if the Democrats really wanted to do the deal, they'd do the deal," Trump said in a Sunday Fox News interview.
Trump then called Congress to pass another round of stimulus checks, saying he wants to “see checks—for more money than they’re talking about—going to people.”
A report from the Washington Post claims that the president privately endorsed the proposal of sending checks of up to $2,000 to individuals.
Trump is the latest to join the call for another round of stimulus checks as the pandemic worsens in some parts of the U.S. Recently, President-elect Joe Biden, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Josh Hawley and others also spoke in favor of sending stimulus checks.
Last week, a group of six senators also sent a letter to colleagues requesting them to speak in favor of the stimulus checks. These six senators were Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (R-Ore.), Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Stimulus checks without unemployment benefits is "bad idea"
Trump’s call for stimulus checks did get support from many, but some don’t feel it is a good idea. Sen. Joe Manchin slammed the White House’s push to include stimulus payments. Manchin said it’s a "bad idea" to include stimulus payment and not supplemental federal unemployment benefits in the relief package.
Some economists give more preference to supplemental unemployment benefits than stimulus checks because the former are more targeted toward those most in need.
A $908 billion stimulus proposal introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Manchin, included $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit for 16 weeks. The proposal, however, excluded another round of stimulus checks primarily to make the cost of the total package more appealing to Senate Republicans.
“I think that’s much more reasonable, practical, and much-needed,” Manchin said about the inclusion of federal unemployment benefits in the bipartisan plan.
In July, Senate Republicans came up with the $1 trillion stimulus bill, but since then, they have been in favor of a targeted relief package costing about $500 billion. On more than one occasion, Senate Republicans introduced $500 billion bills in the Senate for a vote, but Democrats blocked it each time.