Next coronavirus stimulus checks: Trump in favor, some Democrats, GOP may oppose

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Coronavirus has made life very difficult for many. Millions are left without jobs, while many others have seen their income reduced. The stimulus checks – promised by the CARES Act – proved a lifeline for many, but it was a one-time payment. Still, many are finding it extremely hard to meet their needs, and thus, are waiting for the next coronavirus stimulus checks. Though President Donald Trump has expressed support for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, some Democrats and Republicans do not favor this.

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Trump in favor of next coronavirus stimulus checks

Earlier this week, Trump in an interview to Scripps reporter Joe St. George, revealed intentions of giving direct payments to Americans. When he was asked about the stimulus checks, Trump replied, "Yeah we are. We are."

"We will be doing another stimulus package," he added. "It'll be very good, it'll be very generous."

Trump, however, did not reveal the amount of the next coronavirus stimulus checks that people would get. This is not the first time Trump has supported another round of stimulus checks. However, we still don’t have any conclusive proof that the next stimulus package would include direct payments.

Apart from Trump, some top officials, including senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow have also hinted on the possibility of cash payments in the next coronavirus relief package.

A few days back, Kudlow told FOX Business, “I think the tax rebates or the direct mail checks are on the table." Further, he said that the next package may target those who lost their “jobs and are in need.”

“All right, that’s the speculation on my part, but I think this is — that’s where it’s going,” Kudlow said.

On the other hand, some Congressional Republicans and Senate Democrats, as well as a few of Trump's economic advisers have raised questions over the need of another direct payment. Some argue that many of those who got the stimulus money have put it in their savings accounts, while some are concerned about the ballooning deficit.

Some Republicans favor targeted assistance

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. bank deposits have gone up by $2 trillion. Many believe that this rise in the deposits is due to the federal government's massive relief efforts. As per the data from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal savings rate in April in the U.S. increased to 33%.

“A lot of the stimulus checks that have gone out right now — people have been saving money and putting it into their savings accounts,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D said while talking to reporters this week. Rounds said the focus should be on getting people back to work.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggests that the next bill should be more targeted and focus more on creation of jobs. “So whatever we do it’ll be much more targeted, much more focused on jobs, bringing back jobs and making sure we take care of our kids,” Mnuchin said in a recent interview.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. is also in favor of targeted stimulus only to those hit hard by the pandemic.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also favors targeted assistance, while Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) does not feel there is a need of coronavirus stimulus checks now.

Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, questions the need of stimulus checks when the economy is starting to reopen. According to The Hill, Toomey said that stimulus checks were an emergency measure, but it was “wildly inefficient” because “all kinds of people were getting checks whose work was not jeopardized.”

Few Democrats differ as well

Some Democrats do not support the next coronavirus stimulus checks as well. This comes as a bit of a surprise because the $3 trillion HEROES Act had already been approved by the House of Representatives last month. The HEROES Act promises stimulus checks of up to $6,000 for a household.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, feels that the relief package should be more targeted at those who are really in need. Cardin said the direct payments made sense in March, but not now because businesses are slowly starting to reopen.

“I think the next round we’ve got to be more targeted to those who are really in need. So I hope we can target this a little bit better to those who have been hit hard because of COVID-19,” Cardin told The Hill recently.

Speaking to The Hill, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that he would back a second payment, but feels that other relief measures, such as unemployment benefits and relief to small businesses should get more importance.

A group of influential conservative leaders want to see a cut in the coronavirus spending. They are concerned about the rising deficit, and argue that further coronavirus spending could prove a setback to the recovery efforts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. deficit is expected to hit $3.7 trillion for this year.

Next coronavirus stimulus: What do Trump’s top advisers say?

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It’s been over three months since Congress approved the CARES Act. The stimulus package provided the much-needed cash inflow to Americans who were finding it difficult to meet their basic needs amid coronavirus pandemic. Now, people are anxiously waiting for the next coronavirus stimulus package, but there is a lot of uncertainty over what it might offer, or if there will be one. So far, there is no confirmation, but we have gotten some hints from the recent comments of Trump’s top economic advisers on what the next relief package could look like.

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Trump's top economic advisers: what they say

Last week, Kevin Hassett, a senior adviser, gave some hope on the next stimulus package, saying there would "definitely" be another one. Similarly, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said he expects the negotiations on the next relief package to start after the July 4 congressional recess.

Talking of what the next package could include, the advisers suggest that it would be very different from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. Most believe the focus of the next round will be on boosting the economy by helping businesses, rather than payments to individuals.

Speaking to Fox News, Hassett said the recent unemployment data could change what the White House might include in the next relief package. Further, the adviser said if the numbers going into July are similar to those of May, then "I could imagine it would be a very different Phase Four bill than if we had a whole bunch of months like April.”

The most recent employment report shows the unexpected addition of 2.5 million jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May. Most economists were expecting the unemployment rate to hit about 20%.

Recent comments from the officials are in contrast to what they said sometime back. For instance, Hassett a couple of months back said the White House is evaluating the need of the second stimulus payments "very carefully."

Neither Hassett nor Kudlow in their latest interviews talked of the possibility of more checks. Late last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Congress may make a decision in the next few weeks if another stimulus round is needed or not.

Wait and watch approach

Over the past few weeks, we have heard several high-ranking Republicans and White House officials favoring a wait and watch approach on the next stimulus package. Such officials suggest assessing the impact of the first relief package before deciding on the next round.

"There definitely will be [another relief package], but one of the things the president has instructed the team to do is to watch the numbers carefully and...have a menu of options that's conditional on how the economy's doing," Hassett said.

Last week, Kudlow told Fox Business that the negotiations have "slowed down" because the officials want to evaluate the impact of the first relief package. Kudlow also lauded the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), saying opening up small businesses helped a great deal as it allowed laid off or furloughed workers to get back to work. Kudlow is in favor of opening up the economy and letting people go back to work.

"If we go into another discussion, let's think about long-term or medium- to long-term growth incentives," Kudlow said.

Incentives that Kudlow is referring to include capital gains tax cuts, tax deductions for industries hit hardest, payroll tax holiday, back to work bonus and restricting business liability.

President Trump and the White House are in favor of tax breaks, such as payroll tax cuts, and a tax break for those taking a vacation in the U.S. to spur spending. Japan is using a similar approach to encourage domestic travel

Trump favors next coronavirus stimulus package

Meanwhile, President Trump on Friday favored a second wave of payments to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. "We'll be asking for additional stimulus money," Trump said. "Because once we get this going, it'll be far bigger and far better than we've ever seen in this country -- that includes as of three of four months ago, when everyone thought it was great and it was great."

A recent report from The Wall Street Journal noted that the White House would start to sketch its own proposal for the next coronavirus stimulus package as soon as this week. It is believed that the proposal would focus on measures to assist the U.S. economy recover.

However, a few officials believe that the latest unemployment numbers may dim the chances of the next coronavirus stimulus package. Last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told MSNBC that he is concerned that the latest unemployment numbers would make the Trump and Senate Republicans "complacent."

Schumer noted that in the absence of aid to state and local governments, the state and local workers might have to face "massive layoffs."

Kudlow, however, doesn’t agree with Schumer, saying Trump and Republicans are "taking stock of the economic situation." Talking about the unemployment benefits, Kudlow said it “needs to be reformed."

Further, the White House is also considering lowering the unemployment payments to $250 or $300 a week. It is believed that reducing unemployment payments would encourage people to go back to work. Currently, the CARES Act promises $600 in federal unemployment benefits, which is set to expire next month.