President Donald Trump suggested Friday that his administration may use $300 billion to pay a new round of individual stimulus payment.
“We have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use—$300 billion. And we are willing to use that. 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,” he said during a White House press briefing. “So we have $300 billion sitting in an account that we didn’t need because things are going so well with the economy.”
The president didn’t elaborate on which account he will use.
He emphasized the act need approval from the Congress and suggested he had asked permission from the legislative branch.
“All Congress has to do is say, ‘Use it.’ If they say, ‘Use it’—I’d like to use it without their permission, but I guess I’m not allowed to do that,” he said.
“I did ask that question,” he added.
Trump said he wants the money to be “pure stimulus” and go directly to the people excluding illegal aliens.
His remarks came as negotiations on another stimulus package reached an impasse.
After enacting a massive financial rescue package in March, the White House and Democrats have failed to move forward another stimulus packages. Both sides couldn’t reach common ground on the size and priorities of the bill. The Democrats want more aid to struggling states and localities while the White House is unwilling to give money to debt-ridden states and cities for things not caused by the CCP virus pandemic, also known as the novel coronavirus.
Trump signed an executive order offering a stripped-down version of the unemployment benefit. At least 39 states have accepted or said that they would apply for federal grants that let them increase weekly benefits by $300 or $400.
In the meantime, the economy, after a catastrophic fall in the April-June quarter, is likely expanding again. Home and auto sales have been strong. Stock prices have set record highs.
The latest job report released by the Labor Department shows the U.S. economy has added some 1.4 million jobs in August while unemployment fell to 8.4 percent, better than economists anticipated.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has also employed more measures to support the economic recovery.
On Thursday, the central bank announced a major change in how it manages interest rates by saying it plans to keep rates near zero, even after inflation has exceeded its 2 percent target level, to help support the economy. The change means that borrowing rates for households and businesses—for everything from auto loans and home mortgages to corporate expansion—will likely remain ultra-low for years to come. Behind the Fed’s thinking is a stubbornly low inflation rate that has long defied its efforts to raise it and a belief that an exceedingly low jobless rate is critically important for the economy and for individual Americans.
The Associated Press and Tom Ozimek contributed to the report.