There’s some positive news for the tens of millions Americans who are still struggling to make ends meet as the coronavirus pandemic lingers for the third month.
It appears President Trump has changed his mind, and is now in favor of sending out an additional round of stimulus checks to help Americans get through the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked about the likelihood of additional checks, the President replied, “I think we will. I think we’re going to be helping people out. We’re gonna be getting some money for them during the artificial — cause it really is it’s an artificial closure — and now we’re gonna be able to open it up,” Trump told reporters while he was in Michigan touring a Ford factory.
“I would say there could be one more nice shot. One more nice dose,” Trump said about a potential stimulus bill as the country struggles to recover from historic job losses and businesses are faced with an uncertain future.
Trump’s comments were echoed by White House staff, including economic advisor Kevin Hassett, who said during a CNN interview that another round of checks is “pretty likely,” and says “it’s coming sooner rather than later” before adding that if there are indications the economy is recovering quickly as more states reopen, the White House may look at other relief options.
Also supporting Trump’s outlook is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said Thursday that there’s a “strong likelihood” the U.S. will send out another round of stimulus checks.
“I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill,” he said during an online event hosted by The Hill newspaper, but added that the stimulus may not be needed immediately.
“We’re going to step back for a few weeks and think very carefully if we need to spend more money and how we’re going to do that,” Mnuchin said.
The change in course comes after Republican lawmakers were originally hesitant to continue adding to the deficit while attempting to generate an economic recovery. But with job losses continuing to climb every week and estimates for the second quarter GDP to plunge as much as 40%, the Senate GOP leaders are warming to the idea of an additional stimulus package.
While Democrats have pushed a $3 trillion plan through the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told President Trump last week any stimulus bill should not cost more than $1 trillion.
McConnell has also openly opposed the Democratic plan to extend the $600 per week additional unemployment benefit by six months when it expires in July.
Republicans have also shown little interest in the Democrat’s proposal of nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments to offset increased costs and lower revenues due to the pandemic, mainly citing that the budget issues the cities and states are facing pre-date the pandemic and relief funds shouldn’t be used to fix old problems.
The White House and Republican leaders would also like to pass liability protection for businesses that reopen, shielding owners from lawsuits should an employee claim they contracted the virus while on the job. Democrats, however, have opposed the idea.