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White House signals it could get on board with 2nd round of stimulus checks

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  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the White House could support another round of stimulus checks for Americans.
  • He also floated other measures President Donald Trump supports, such as a payroll tax cut.
  • Republicans in Congress and the White House are split on whether to back a second round of direct payments. 
  • Democrats support sending more $1,200 stimulus checks.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said on Monday morning that the White House could get on board with another round of direct payments to Americans, given President Donald Trump’s support of the measure.

In remarks to reporters, Meadows also opened the door to other proposals the president has supported, such as a reduction of payroll taxes, to be included in another economic relief package set to be debated later this month.

“I think the president has been very clear that he’s supportive of another stimulus check,” Meadows said. “And yet at the same time, we want to make sure we’re addressing things in a real systemic way.”

He went on: “Whether that is making sure the take-home check for every American is greater with a payroll tax deduction, whether it’s making sure that we provide incentives for American manufacturing to be brought back from abroad.”

The remarks reflect ongoing debate among Republicans and the White House on another round of stimulus checks for Americans. Trump has reportedly told aides he supports the plan, but congressional Republicans are split on it.

Top White House officials are divided as well. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin favors sending a second round of direct payments, while National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said stimulus checks could be targeted toward people who lost their jobs.

The first round of payments under the CARES Act went to 150 million US households.

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Meadows said Mnuchin would be leading the negotiations on behalf of Republicans, which would put in place a similar dynamic that led to deals struck with Democrats on four bipartisan relief bills early in the coronavirus pandemic.

The largest of those, the $2 trillion CARES Act, sent $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans, enacted a $600 federal supplement to unemployment benefits, and sent emergency funds to healthcare systems as well as state governments. It also created the Paycheck Protection Program to aid small businesses.

Since the legislation’s passage in March, many in the GOP have urged a wait-and-see approach before passing another large economic relief bill to pump more cash into the economy. Lawmakers from both parties authorized over $3 trillion in federal spending so far.

Economists say the unemployment rate will remain high for many months to come, and lawmakers shouldn’t yank federal aid before the economy is in a healthier state than it is now. Democrats support sending a second round of stimulus checks, as well as keeping enhanced unemployment aid in place through early next year.

The latest jobs report released on Thursday showed the economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, causing the unemployment rate to drop to 11.1% from 13.3%. The amount of permanent job losses climbed by 588,000, however, bringing the total jobs erased to 2.9 million.

The economy has around 15 million fewer jobs than it did in February. Republicans, though, are still determining what measures to push for based on the newest data.

“If it turns out the economy is recovering, that’s a good thing, and direct stimulus checks may not be necessary,” Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said last week, per The Wall Street Journal. “And so I think we’re still kind of collating, understanding the data as it comes out.”

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