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Congress and Trump Administration Spar Over The Size of The Next Stimulus Round

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin joins President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as he addresses his remarks on aspects of the stimulus package currently before Congress, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour) Date: 25 March 2020, 18:09:03 Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/49700739111/in/photostream/ Author: The White House

The debate over the size of the next stimulus round has quickly devolved into a partisan issue that could jeopardize Pelosi’s deadline of end of July.

Although businesses received multiple rounds of coronavirus relief funding, individual taxpayers were only included in a single stimulus bill. Since the checks went out in April, discussion of a second round of stimulus checks has circulated in Washington. Now that President Donald Trump is in favor of more funding for Americans, the only question is how much is too much? Democrats and Republicans remains divided over the size of the next stimulus round.

$1 Trillion Isn’t Enough

House Democrats unveiled a $3 trillion Health and Economic Recover Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act in May, which was framed as a wish list for emergency spending projects. Deemed unrealistic at the time, the HEROES Act notably included another payment of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 for dependent children.

The HEROES Act never gained traction and Democrats are now pushing the idea of more relief payments, but the White House is arguing for a $1 trillion limit for the bill, POLITICO reported.

“A trillion dollars is OK, that’s an interesting starting point. But that doesn’t come anywhere near,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D–Cali.

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, set the initial cap in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.

“There’s obviously been a lot of stimulus put in the system over the last couple bills, and so the price tag for us would be that,” Short said.

Strings Attached

The debate over the size of the next stimulus round has quickly devolved into a partisan issue that could jeopardize Pelosi’s deadline of end of July. Alongside stimulus checks, Pelosi wants more money for state and local governments in addition to unemployment benefits. A $600 per week unemployment boost is set to expire at the end of the month.

The Senate began a two-week recess on July 4, and although the House is working through July, it is scheduled to take its own break beginning Aug. 3, Forbes reported. The House has voting time allocated until the end of the month, raising the possibility of it passing the next emergency relief bill.

“We feel very confident that we’ll have a strong bill,” Pelosi said, according to Reuters. “$1 trillion doesn’t do it for us. But we can negotiate from there.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R–Ky., said he supports the idea of another stimulus round, but with an income threshold of $40,000. The requirement creates another barrier between the two parties that could prevent a timely passage of the bill. The first stimulus payments were capped at $99,000 for single taxpayers, $136,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household, and $198,000 for joint filers without children, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Pelosi responded that the income requirement “would have to be explained and justified.” 

Trump Wants ‘Generous’ and Fast Payments

President Donald Trump is also in favor of a second stimulus payment for taxpayers, but he declined to offer specifics particularly over the size of the next stimulus round.

“Yeah we are…we will be doing another stimulus package,” Trump said. “It will be very good, very generous.” During a July 1 Fox Business interview, the president claimed he wants “larger numbers than the Democrats,” even as the White House seeks to impose a $1 trillion limit. Trump also said he wants checks sent out “quickly and in a noncomplicated fashion,” Forbes reported.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stipulated that another stimulus package would limit an extension of unemployment benefits to a maximum of 100% of a worker’s pay. That is only one criteria put forward from Trump’s cabinet so far, but more is likely to follow as the two parties attempt to negotiate a middle ground.

“As soon as the Senate gets back, we’re going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats and it will be our priority to make sure between the 20th and the end of the month that we pass the next legislation,” Mnuchin said.

Both sides are aiming for an end-of-month goal for passing the next stimulus bill, but to do so, they will have to come to an agreement over the size of a second stimulus round. Until the Senate returns, House Democrats are left to feud with White House officials over how large the stimulus should be as they wait for their Senate counterparts to return for negotiations.

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is Managing Editor for The Osage County Herald-Chronicle in Kansas and also covers International news for Inside Over, a Milan-based global affairs publication. He graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Outside of writing, he enjoys photography and one day hopes to return to video production. Learn more about him at his website danieldavis.la.

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1 Comment

  1. Ed R Nelson July 9, 2020

    Why is Congress going on vacation when the country is in the middle of a PANDEMIC ?


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