Mike Pence Says The White House Still Wants To Send Second Stimulus Checks

TOPLINE

In a Friday interview with CNBC, Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on the White House’s support for another round of economic impact payments—cutting new $1,200 checks won’t be possible, however, until top lawmakers are able to reach an agreement on what the next coronavirus relief bill should look like. 

KEY FACTS

Pence’s comments Friday echo testimony that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave before the House earlier this week, where he reiterated that the Trump administration supports sending out another round of checks and extending federal supplemental employment benefits (albeit at a reduced level from the $600 weekly check authorized by the CARES Act passed last March.). 

Both Democrats and Republicans included a provision for more $1,200 stimulus checks in each of their opening proposals for the next bill, but deep divisions over other key benefits—like state and local aid and school funding—have stalled the negotiations.

With lawmakers still at an impasse, President Trump was able to act unilaterally on other relief measures by redirecting disaster relief funds towards a new unemployment supplement, for example, and extending relief for federal student loan borrowers.

Trump won’t be able to act alone when it comes to stimulus checks because Congress must approve any new government spending. 

Pence said Friday that because the Trump administration and Congress had agreed to use a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond the end of the fiscal year on September 30, “now we can focus just on another relief bill.” 

Crucial quote

“Nobody wants to give direct payments to American families more than President Donald Trump,” Pence said. “We sent those checks to American families, it helped people through this tough time.”

Tangent

The GOP is reportedly preparing to unveil a narrower bill next week that would exclude the direct payments, but without Democratic support that plan does not have a significant chance of becoming law. In a letter to Democrats on Thursday, Sen. Schumer decried that bill as “emaciated.” Along with stimulus checks, the so-called “skinny” bill would exclude money for rental assistance, nutrition programs, state and local governments and elections.

Further reading

Schumer Slams Skinny GOP Stimulus Bill, Urges Democrats To Stick Together As Washington Remains Deadlocked (Forbes)

Economy Needs At Least $1.3 Trillion In New Stimulus To Sustain Recovery, Bridgewater CIO Says (Forbes)

Mnuchin: We Want To Extend Unemployment Insurance And Send Out More Stimulus Checks (Forbes)

Trump Willing To Sign $1.3 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill, Chief Of Staff Says (Forbes)

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