Several GOP senators this week introduced a measure to provide more direct payments to families with a potentially higher amount.
Sen.s Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act that would provide $1,000 stimulus payments and checks to individuals, lowering it from the proposed $1,200. But they would also send the $1,000 payments to adult and children dependents.
“They support families, but they stimulate the economy,” said Cassidy in an interview with Nexstar. “We know a young family with three kids is going to spend that money.”
A qualifying family of four could possibly receive $4,000, which would be about $600 more than what they received from the CARES Act, which authorized $1,200 payments to individuals and $500 for families.
“The extra expense of children and COVID has not been fully appreciated,” Cassidy said. “If you’re somebody who’s 50 years old, you’ve paid your bills, your need may not be quite as much as if you’re just starting off in life, you’re 29, you have three kids.”
Other Republicans in the HEALS Act proposed $1,200 payments for qualifying individuals, $2,400 for couples, and $500 for children. Democrats, in their HEROES Act that was passed in the House in May, are seeking to expand the eligibility for the $1,200 payments, while allowing dependents to receive $1,200 payments. It means that a family of five could potentially receive $6,000 from the federal government.
President Donald Trump has often said that he supports the stimulus payments, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has suggested that the program has bipartisan support.
“President Trump wants the payment,” Cassidy added. “We’re just saying let’s make sure we focus it on where the greatest need is.”
In terms of when the direct payments could actually be sent out, it’s still not clear.
“If I could get [the next stimulus bill] passed tomorrow, I could start printing them the following week,” Mnuchin said Aug. 2. “I could have them out immediately.” The IRS began sending the first direct payments about two weeks after the CARES Act was passed.
At the same time, he noted that the stimulus payments are among the least controversial items among Democrats and Republicans in their negotiations.
“There’s definitely areas of agreement,” he told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday before adding that there is “enormous bipartisan support” for stimulus checks.
The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, proposed their version of relief legislation in May, worth about $3 trillion. The GOP-led Senate made a counter-proposal last week, while some Republicans still don’t agree about what should be included.