President Trump spoke with Joe St. George, National Political Editor & Washington Correspondent for Scripps, and he talked about the prospects of another stimulus package.
Here is a transcript of the conversation in the video:
Joe St. George: I have a lot of viewers in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, who are still struggling economically, sir. They spent all of that first stimulus check, are you going to get them a second stimulus check?
President Trump: Yeah, we are. We are. Look we had this—
Joe St. George: When? When are you going to get it?
President Trump: We had this going better than anybody’s ever seen before. We had the best job numbers, the best economics, the best economy we’ve ever had, and then we had the virus come in from China. Now we’re rebuilding it again. We will be doing another stimulus package. It’ll be very good, it’ll be very generous, and people—
Joe St. George: How much? People want to know.
President Trump: You’ll find out about it. You’ll find out.
Joe St. George: When are you going to do it? When are you going to announce it?
President Trump: I think over the next, I think it’s going to be bi-partisan, I think it’s going to be over the couple of weeks, probably.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
How Likely Is Another Stimulus Check?
Before today, my belief was that we’d have another stimulus package but the prospects of a stimulus check, such as the $1,200 check in the Cares Act, were slim.
This was the first time that President Trump has mentioned the possibility that the next package would include a broadly distributed stimulus check. Up until now, all of his public statements have all been in support of a stimulus tied to work. They include “back to work” bonuses, payroll tax waivers, and even a tax deduction for domestic tourism.
In early May, with the economic numbers even weaker than they are today, President Trump said that there was “no rush” on the next stimulus package. While there doesn’t appear to be a rush, it seems like we’re now on track for a package to be discussed and deliberated in the Senate when it returns in late July.
Some lawmakers have said that they don’t like the idea of another stimulus check because it is so expensive. Some have said they dislike the idea of paying people more to not work, citing the unemployment benefits included in the Cares Act. These all seem like headwinds against future broadly distributed stimulus checks.
What Could Be Announced?
So far, the Heroes Act is the only stimulus check related bill that has been passed in either chamber. It calls for a stimulus check similar to the Cares Act - a $1,200 for adults and child dependents, up to three, with similar income limits.
This means that a family of two adults and three children would qualify for a $6,000 stimulus check.
This bill, which includes other provisions outside of a check, would cost an estimated $3 trillion. This bill is unlikely to pass for a variety of reasons but mostly because the Republican-controlled Senate, led by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, has said that the next stimulus bill would be written by the Senate.
So far, the only Republican bills that have garnered much attention have been in the category of “back to work” bonuses. These are bonuses paid only to those who return to work.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio proposed a $450 “return-to-work” bonus that would be on top of their normal wages. This would incentivize people to return to work plus provide cash stimulus into the economy. It was unclear how long this return to work bonus would be paid.
Representative Kevin Brady of Texas proposed a shorter bonus in his Reopening America by Supporting Workers Act of 2020. His proposal would give two $600 weekly payments to returning workers. As the leading Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, his proposal may carry more influence.
Beyond that, there have been discussions about a payroll tax cut but no one would consider those “generous.”
Perhaps No Stimulus Check in Next Package?
If you want to parse words very carefully, President Trump said the next stimulus package would be announced in a couple of weeks. He didn’t specifically say there would be a check in that package.
The question was specifically about a check and President Trump’s answer seemed to imply that one was coming. However, if you read carefully, nothing in President Trump’s reply indicates that there will be another stimulus payment made to Americans. He implied that there might be a check, a generous one announced in a couple of weeks, but never said so explicitly.
No matter what gets announced, we should all expect it to be the last act of stimulus. Senator McConnell has said that the next round of stimulus legislation will be the final one.