Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on Wednesday in front of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. There, he said that the Trump administration is considering sending another round of stimulus checks to Americans. He claims this will come with the fourth stimulus package tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed the need for further stimulus. However, the two sides disagree on what the package should include and how much it should cost.
The Democrats proposal, passed by the House, totals nearly $3 trillion and bails out state and local governments. The Republican plan, pushed by Senator Mitch McConnell, is closer to $ trillion. Although, President Trump has signaled that he would like to include additional items that would push the price tag higher.
In addition to a direct payment, the White House has thought about considering other stimulus options. These will include a payroll tax cut and liability protections for businesses reopening during the outbreak. Tax deductions or write-offs for individuals who take a vacation during a defined period of time are also considered. Options also include a back-to-work bonus for unemployed Americans returning to their jobs.
“I think we’re going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy,” Mnuchin said, adding, “but I think this is all going to be about getting people back to work, and we look forward to working with the entire Senate on this one.”
Mnuchin says that. the economy is showing signs of life. May jobs report, which shows a surprising gain of 2.5 million jobs, reflects this. However, he says the Trump administration is willing to do everything to get the economy squarely back on its feet and thriving again.
“I do think the economy is going to recover strongly, but there is still significant damage in parts of the economy,” Mnuchin said. “And we’re going to consider using all of our fiscal tools, working with Congress to make sure we restore this economy back to where it was and where it should be.”
A New Target
Mnuchin specifically mentioned the need to help out businesses that have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic shutdown. These may have happened through PPP loans, tax credits, or other options.
“We’re open-minded, but we absolutely believe small businesses, and, by the way, many big businesses in certain industries, are absolutely going to need more help,” Mnuchin said.
The funding “needs to be much more targeted,” he added. It needs to target “industries and small businesses that are having the most difficulty reopening,” he then added. To this, he specifically mentioned restaurants, hotels, and the travel industry.
A handful of Democratic Senators are proposing a separate bill. This new one provides businesses that already spent their Paycheck Protection Plan loan the ability to receive another one. It is meant for “genuinely” small businesses who had taken a “significant” hit to their revenue owing to the crisis.
Another White House insider, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, also mentioned looking at more long-term incentives than just a relief check. During an interview with Fox Business last Friday, he said “We need to move from rescue assistance to more long-term economic growth incentives.”