Coronavirus stimulus checks: Pence highlights 'direct payments to American families' amid stalled negotiations
Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the president’s continued support for more stimulus checks as stalled negotiations over the next relief package are expected to resume next week.
Pence said the White House and Congress can now “focus just on another relief bill” after reaching an agreement to avoid a possible government shutdown, he told CNBC on Friday. The deal might include a second round of stimulus checks — a provision both parties have similar views on.
Read more: Coronavirus stimulus checks: What’s stopping a second round of payments?
“Nobody wants to give direct payments to American families more than President Donald Trump,” Pence said. “We sent those checks to American families and helped people through this tough time.”
President Donald Trump also voiced his support for more checks in August, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated his own support for the second round of stimulus checks on Tuesday.
“We’d like to extend enhanced unemployment and we’d like to send out more economic impact payments,” Mnuchin said during a hearing on the coronavirus crisis. “Those have both been critical to the economic recovery.”
Both Republicans and Democrats agree that another round of stimulus checks should be included in any legislation, but the talks have been stalled since Congress went into recess in mid-August. While negotiations are expected to begin after Labor Day, Republicans and Democrats still disagree on how much the next package should be worth and on the future of key provisions.
What do Republicans and Democrats say on stimulus checks?
The proposals from both parties outline similar ideas of what the next round of stimulus checks would look like.
The Republican plan — called the HEALS Act — would send a second wave of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 to Americans, plus an additional $500 for any dependent. The party proposed the plan proposed in late July, but never voted on it in the Senate.
The Democratic plan proposed that taxpayers would receive $1,200 per individual and an extra $1,200 dependent bonus for any dependent claimed on their tax return. Called the HEROES Act, the proposal passed the House in May, but was not taken up by the Senate.
Both proposals have similar income eligibility criteria: Single adults with income up to $75,000 would be eligible for the full check, while reduced checks would be available for single adults who earned between $75,001 and $99,000. Married couples with a combined income up to $150,000 would get $2,400, while those earning between $150,001 and $198,000 would receive reduced checks. That’s also the same as the first round.
Read more: Coronavirus stimulus checks: IRS is sending out catch-up payments
Under the Republican proposal, those without a Social Security number and nonresident aliens — those who aren’t a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and don’t have a green card or have not passed the substantial presence test — would not be eligible for a payment.
By contrast, the Democrats’ plan proposes sending payments to Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers and their families. The change would mean that more than 4.3 million adults and 3.5 million children would be eligible for the payment, according to ITEP.
Another key difference is the bonus for dependents. The Democrats want to give $1,200 for each dependent, while the GOP plan includes $500 extra for each dependent.
‘Willing to go to $2.2 trillion’
Even though the president signed executive actions concerning student loan payments, extra unemployment benefits, eviction moratorium, and a payroll tax deferral — which many experts said are insufficient to help jobless Americans — the White House has expressed interest in continuing to negotiate more stimulus with Congress.
“We’re in the midst of the negotiation, and we’re going to stay focused on American families and American businesses,” Pence said. “We're not going to allow Democrats in Congress to use a coronavirus relief bill to bail out poorly run Democrat states in the country.”
The disagreements between the two parties are about the overall funding for the bill — the Democrats’ HEROES Act is worth over $3 trillion, while the GOP’s proposal is worth $1 trillion — as well as some of the stimulus provisions involving the inclusion of liability protection for business and schools, the size of the additional unemployment benefits, and funding for local and state governments.
Since then, Republicans have floated proposals even lower than the initial $1 trillion, while Democrats have agreed to cut their proposal down to $2.2 trillion.
“Originally, House and Senate Democrats made clear we would be willing to cut a trillion dollars if the White House would add a trillion for a bill,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a statement last week. “In order to meet in the middle, we have now said we would be willing to go to $2.2 trillion to meet the needs of the American people.”
Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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