President Donald Trump announced his support for a second round of stimulus checks on Tuesday, June 23rd. Trump told Scripps reporter Joe St. George he believed another stimulus package would be beneficial, but declined to say how much money Americans would receive. “You’ll find out,” he told St. George.
The announcement comes roughly three months after Congress’ initial approval of the first stimulus package in response to a spike in unemployment following the Coronavirus outbreak. Every American earning less than $75,000 per year received a payment of up to $1,200. The IRS sent checks to roughly 159 million Americans totalling nearly $267 billion at the beginning of June, according to Fox Business. The White House has remained largely silent on the issue of a second round of stimulus checks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow both mentioned that the possibility of another round of payments remains on the table for the upcoming virus aid package. Forbes estimates roughly three-in-four voters backs a second round of direct stimulus checks to individuals.
Those who support more stimulus checks believe the direct payments are crucial as COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S, even spiking in many states. Forbes noted several instances believed to be linked to stimulus benefits. Their data suggested late rent/mortgage payments and poverty rates swelled much less than expected shortly after the initial round of stimulus was sent out. These numbers are increasing as of June, which means another round would be largely beneficial to contain the swell. House Democrats have already passed a relief bill that includes “a bolstered second round of stimulus checks.”
On the other side of the debate, leading congressional Republicans and several White House officials remain on-the-fence about Trump’s support for the additional stimulus, according to the Washington Post. Kudlow is skeptical about sending out as many payments to as many people who received them during the first round. The idea would be to send the checks primarily to those who need them most. “We would want to target to those who lost their jobs and are most in need,” Kudlow told Fox Business. Several White House officials have warned that amid the growing deficit, the checks are remaining in the pockets of Americans rather than being spent in the economy. Sen. Mike Rounds told reporters he would rather focus on getting Americans employed rather than hand out more checks, which cost the government $267 billion the first time around.
In addition, some are skeptical about Trump’s sudden, unusual agreement with the left. Some suspect Trump is using the checks as a method of gaining support for the upcoming election, as a strong economy has been at the core of his political strategy.