President Donald Trump on Friday called for Congress to use $300 billion in unused coronavirus aid in a second round of $1,200 economic stimulus checks for Americans.
Trump did not say what coronavirus relief money he was referring to, only that, “It’s money that we have—money that we built up, and money that we haven’t spent, and I would love to give it to the American people as a very powerful stimulus.
“We have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use,” Trump said during a White House briefing. “I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money, and it would go right to the American people.”
Republicans and Democrats have voiced support for a second stimulus check of at least $1,200 per adult and between $500 and $1,200 per child. Trump has also said he supports a second round of stimulus checks. However, negotiations on a new COVID-19 stimulus package stalled in early August.
Democrats in the House passed a $3.4 trillion bill in May that included the stimulus payment in addition to an extension of federal unemployment payments, aid to cities and states and billions for the U.S. Postal Service.
Republicans in the Senate passed a $1.1 trillion bill in July that provides funds that would, when added to state unemployment benefits, replace 70% of an unemployed person’s wages, provide liability protection to businesses, government agencies and schools, and extend the Paycheck Protection Program.
The stalemate over the latest relief package continued into early August when negotiations were put on hold as Congress went into recess.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said talks will continue only if Republicans agree to spend at least $2.5 trillion on the package.
U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin told Fox News on Sunday that Republicans are working on a “targeted stimulus bill that could be introduced this week as a way around the negotiation impasse.
“As you know, we put $3 trillion into the economy when the economy was completely shut down and we’ve now reopened the economy,” Mnuchin said. “Let’s do a more targeted bill now, and if we need to do more in 30 days, we’ll continue to do more, but let’s not hold up the American workers and the American businesses that need more support.”
Mnuchin also said that he and Pelosi agreed to a continuing resolution that will keep the government from shutting down at the end of the month.
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