Stimulus check update: Trump wants to move forward with checks

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9/7/20 Update:

It looks like we have a little bit more of a detailed picture as to what Trump plans to do with the leftover $300 billion for the next stimulus deal.

As mentioned below, this amount could more or less cover an additional round of stimulus checks but the looming question is will there be expanded eligibility similar to what was proposed in the Heroes Act?

We still don’t know 100% about how dependents would be factored in with this proposal but Trump is clear that he does not want undocumented immigrants or “illegal aliens” to receive more funds.

“They came into the country illegally, and now we give them a check?” Trump said. “We want to give the checks to the American people.”

Trump claims to have a legal theory for how he could authorize the checks with his executive powers although he has not shared that theory with the public yet and would prefer to involve Congress with the authorization.

This comes right when we’ve seen the unemployment rate drop down to 8.4% as the country continues to add more jobs even amidst the pandemic (nearly 1.4 million new jobs).

That could be a major factor for Republicans when deciding on whether or not or checks should go out but Republicans should also be excited about the prospect of funding more checks without an additional act.

Today is the final day of recess for Congress and they are expected to get back to work tomorrow, hopefully to sort out the details of the next stimulus package. With the elections about 56 days away, some are speculating that political motivations may keep lawmakers from striking a deal before then. We’ll see what happens when Congress resumes tomorrow.

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9/6/20

While there has been a lot of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats, the president has steadily supported more stimulus checks now for a couple of months.

And it looks like he is interested in a potential alternate route to get more stimulus checks out to Americans.

Trump has recently urged Congress to approve more stimulus checks by tapping into the $300 billion in unused coronavirus relief funds.

Reportedly, Trump has considered redirecting the funds utilizing his executive powers but he prefers for Congress to approve the idea and take the initiative.

“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,” Trump said.

“We’re willing to spend it, I’d 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.”

It appears that this $300 billion amount is left over from business loan money that was approved back in March when the $2 trillion Cares Act was approved and signed into law.

Trump mentioned he would like to see a one sentence approval from Democrats which hints that this would be a quick measure to pass and authorize more checks.

Interestingly, it was about $300 billion that went to cash payments to Americans under the Cares Act so this amount is very close to what would be needed for a second round.

(Recall that eligibility is expanded for the proposed second round of stimulus checks so more funds would actually be needed to fulfill those needs.)

It’s not clear how serious lawmakers are taking this request but this could be seen as another positive sign that more checks will be on the way soon.

H/T

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Original article:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke Tuesday before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and reportedly urged for a stimulus deal to be made that includes a new round of stimulus checks.

When pressed on why a deal has not been reached yet, Mnuchin stated that Democratic leaders in Congress are holding up progress by not budging from their positions.

“Let’s move forward on a bipartisan basis on points we can agree upon,” Mnuchin said at the hearing by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. “The president and I want to move forward.”

Mnuchin expressed that the economy has strengthened in recent weeks and cited the improved consumer spending, growth in manufacturing, and also a rebound in the housing market.

Despite the positive outlook, some Democrats are insisting that Americans are facing harsh economic conditions.

“Millions of Americans are now facing eviction, debt and hunger,” said Rep. James Clyburn. “As the pandemic drags on, states, cities and businesses are warning that more layoffs may be coming.”

Aid to businesses is likely to be key and thankfully there seems to be a large agreement between Democrats and Republicans in this area.

One interesting development is that Democrats believe that they have identified possible fraud and abuse potential in the $660 billion plus small business loan program.

They said that due to a lack of government oversight and accountability, there may have been billions of dollars diverted to fraud, waste, and abuse rather than helping out small businesses in need.

So while there is agreement, there is also likely to be a heightened attention to getting the small business loan program to operate at a higher standard the second time around.

Overall, things are roughly where they were just a few weeks ago.

There is still nearly a $1 trillion gap between what Democrats and Republicans feel is acceptable for the next round of stimulus funding.

And until that gap shrinks, we likely will not see any progress in the form of a new stimulus bill.

One thing is clear — the vast majority of Americans support another round of stimulus checks coming out, presumably because most are in need of them.

So hopefully as soon as lawmakers return after Labor Day, a deal can get made that includes more stimulus checks and small business aid since every party involved seems to already be on board.

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