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Mitch McConnell says GOP backs 2nd-round stimulus checks in relief bill



  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the GOP supports another round of stimulus checks “to help American families keep driving our national comeback.”
  • The update brings Republican legislators in line with the Trump administration and Democrats in calling for a second round of economic relief payments.
  • However, not all parties are calling for the same criteria. McConnell previously floated a $40,000 income cutoff for the next wave of checks to lower the cost of a second stimulus package. Democrats objected to such a measure.
  • The loose agreement arrives as Congress rushes to pass a second stimulus bill before expanded unemployment benefits expire at the end of the month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the GOP supports a second wave of stimulus checks in their coronavirus relief bill.

“We want another round of direct payments, direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback,” McConnell said.

The development brings Republicans onboard with Democrats on supporting a fresh round of payments to Americans. The Trump administration also backs a second set of stimulus checks. But details remain unclear on key details, such as the payment amount and whether it would phase-out at a certain income level. 

McConnell previously floated a $40,000 income cutoff for an additional wave of checks in a bid to lower the cost of another spending package. Where Republicans hope to keep new spending at roughly $1 trillion, Democrats are eyeing a package worth up to $3.5 trillion.

Yet implementing that income cutoff could leave as many as 20 million people from receiving checks, according to an estimate from economist Ernie Tedeschi.

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“The legislation I have begun to sketch out is neither another CARES Act to float the entire economy nor a typical stimulus bill for a nation that’s ready to get back to normal,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

In March, Congress authorized a wave of direct $1,200 payments for individuals earning up to $75,000 a year, plus $500 for each dependent child. The cash amount diminished until phasing out for those making above $99,000. Married couples earning up to $150,000 a year also qualified for the full payment.

Democrats support an additional set of payments following the same criteria as the first checks. That measure was included in the economic relief package passed by House Democrats in May.

A loose agreement on a second round of checks marks a small victory for legislators’ hasty negotiations. The $600 per week expansion to unemployment benefits is set to expire at the end of the month, which would yank a critical federal lifeline from millions of jobless Americans.

Democrats back extending the beefed-up payments until January 2021, but Republican lawmakers and White House officials say the $600 weekly boost disincentivizes people from returning to work.

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“We’re going to make sure that we don’t pay people more money to stay home than go to work,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday during a meeting with Republican legislators. The GOP is looking for a “technical fix” for unemployment insurance, he added.

Ironing out partisan differences will likely push the bill’s passage into August, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said earlier on Tuesday. Doing so would all but guarantee the exhaustion of bolstered unemployment insurance payments.

“I envision that this bill doesn’t get done by the end of July,” McCarthy said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” adding he expects the package to pass “probably in the first week of August.”

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