President Trump has suggested that the next coronavirus stimulus package now being negotiated in Congress could include direct cash payments to American families “higher” than the $1,200 that millions of Americans got in the last round.
“It may go higher than that, actually,” Trump said during an interview Wednesday with ABC affiliate KMID in Texas. “I’d like to see it be very high because I love the people.”
“I want the people to get it. You know, the economy’s going to come back. We just had tremendous job numbers, as you know, it was just announced; we had great retail sales numbers. So this is all coming back. We had the greatest economy we’ve ever had; we had to close it up because, you know, we had to do it. We saved millions of lives by doing that, but now we’re bringing it back and that’s gonna come back. We got to take care of the people in the meantime,” the president said.
Trump did not say how much money he envisions for the second round of stimulus checks.
The president’s remarks came a day before the Commerce Department delivered bad news on the economy, saying the gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by a nearly 33% annualized rate for the April-June quarter – the worst plunge since record-keeping began in 1947.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week are negotiating another stimulus package that will deliver money to millions of Americans hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday released the Republican vision for a second round of stimulus, calling it the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. The Senate version comes in with a price tag of $1 trillion — $2 trillion less than the House’s stimulus bill, the HEROES Act.
While the Senate bill would trim supplemental payments for unemployed Americans, it mirrors the stimulus bill passed in March, which gave millions of Americans $1,200.
Under that bill, individuals were eligible for payments of up to $1,200, but that amount declined for those with an adjusted gross income higher than $75,000 a year, based on their 2018 tax filings. The $1,200 payment dropped by 5% of every dollar above $75,000, or $50 for every $1,000.
The benefit didn’t apply for individuals with incomes over $99,000.
Married couples with combined incomes of up to $150,000 received $2,400, subject to the same phaseout that applied to individuals. The payments were phased out entirely for couples making $198,000 or more. Families also got $500 per dependent child under the age of 16. About 120 million U.S. taxpayers qualified for direct payments from the federal government under the bill.
Most Americans won’t need to do anything in order to receive the money. The Internal Revenue Service will use their 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return as an alternative. The House is scheduled to start its recess by Aug. 3, and the Senate is expected to follow on Aug. 7, so action on aid to Americans is expected before then.
A plan to lower the cap to $40,000 for individuals was scrapped.
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