Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that the White House is still open to another round of CCP virus stimulus checks for millions of Americans, even after the United States has started to show some signs of recovery after months of lockdowns.
In a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, the Treasury secretary told the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship that the Trump administration is considering steps to pump more funds into the economy to stimulate growth.
At one point during the pandemic, caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, more than 40 million people had filed for unemployment. Governors across the nation ordered nonessential businesses such as restaurants, hair salons, gyms, theaters, and sports events to stay closed so as to prevent the spread of the the virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged in China last year.
“I think we’re going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy,” Mnuchin said. “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.”
He didn’t offer any specific details about direct payments.
Congress in March passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that distributed $1,200 checks, deposits, and bank cards to tens of millions of Americans. The package also included an expansion in unemployment payments, loans to small businesses, assistance toward local and state governments, and more.
Republicans and some White House officials have said that the next stimulus package likely won’t include the boosted unemployment benefits, arguing that it creates an incentive for people not to work and simply collect unemployment insurance. Mnuchin and White House adviser Kevin Hassett have said that they are waiting to see how the economy performs before unveiling new proposals.
Democrats in recent weeks passed the HEROES Act, which would provide $1,200 to most who are eligible but also would give the same amount to children. The CARES Act provided $500 to children under the age of 17. However, Republicans have said the bill contains too many unnecessary measures and noted it is essentially dead-on-arrival if it ever reaches the Senate.
Mnuchin also stated that there is a need for funds that would “encourage businesses to rehire people, especially in areas that have been most impacted—whether it’s the travel, leisure, restaurants. You can’t get hotel capacity back up to speed without hiring people first.”
He added, “We’re going to need to fix unemployment” and made reference to the extra $600 per week that is being distributed under the CARES Act.
Last week, the Department of Labor posted unexpectedly better unemployment numbers, showing that people are going back to work after numerous businesses reopened.