President Donald Trump suggested that stimulus checks and direct payments in the next pandemic relief bill could be greater than $1,200.
“It may go higher than that, actually,” Trump told ABC affiliate station KMID in Texas. “I’d like to see it be very high because I love the people,” he said. “I want the people to get it.”
Trump didn’t say how much more the checks could be. Under the CARES Act passed in March, direct payment checks of up to $1,200 were sent out to more than 100 million people.
Senate Republicans’ stimulus plan, dubbed the HEALS Act, released Monday is quite similar to the CARES Act, allotting $1,200 per person for people with an income up to $75,000. That sum is decreased by $5 for every $100 earned, up to $99,000. The same equation applies to couples, with $2,400 payments capping at $150,000 for joint filers. Children and dependents will also receive $500 payments.
In May, Democrats passed legislation that would include $1,200 in direct payments in a similar structure that was set up in March. However, they are calling for $1,200 for children and dependents. Under their proposal, a couple with three children could potentially get up to $6,000 in direct payments.
On Wednesday, however, negotiators from Democrats and Republicans signaled that they have not come to an agreement on a deal. Expanded unemployment insurance that is set to expire Friday, an eviction moratorium, and liability protection were among the most contentious issues.
“We don’t have an agreement on anything,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters after he met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Pelosi said in a televised interview on Wednesday night that Republicans should pass legislation that provides funding for state and local governments. She asserted that Republicans wanted to “provide zero … zero” funding for local governments.
It came as the economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, when the viral outbreak shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to nearly 15 percent. The government’s estimate of the second-quarter fall in gross domestic product was the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10 percent drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.
In a sign of how weakened the job market remains, more than 1.4 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. It was the 19th straight week that more than 1 million people have applied for jobless aid. Before the CCP virus erupted in March, the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never exceeded 700,000 in any one week, even during the Great Recession.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.