McConnell says next COVID-19 relief bill will include stimulus checks
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Republicans want to include a second round of stimulus checks and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding as part of their forthcoming coronavirus proposal.
“Speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments, direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
The March $2.2 trillion coronavirus package included a one-time $1,200 payment for Americans who make up to $75,000 per year. The amount of the direct payment was scaled down until it hit an income level of $99,000 per year where it was phased out altogether.
McConnell, during his floor speech, did not provide details on who would qualify for the next round of stimulus checks. But traveling across Kentucky during the two-week July 4 recess, he repeatedly referenced individuals who make up to $40,000 per year, suggesting Republicans could place a lower income ceiling to qualify for the direct assistance in the next coronavirus bill.
Republicans embracing the next round of checks is a stark turnaround from recent months, where several GOP senators said they were either opposed to or not convinced of the need for more checks.
The Trump administration initially requested two rounds of checks as part of the March coronavirus bill. But GOP senators, at the time, rejected that and instead did a one-time check.
The movement toward a second round of checks comes as the economy remains rocky as the country’s coronavirus cases continue to climb. Unemployment also remains stuck in the double digits.
In addition to a second round of stimulus checks, McConnell said Republicans also supported a second tranche of PPP funding, which provides loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. There’s bipartisan support for another round, though a key group of negotiators are looking at tightening the qualifications for qualifying for the help.
“With a majority of businesses expected to exhaust their initial paycheck protection funding this summer, we’ll also be proposing a targeted second round of PPP, with a special eye toward hard-hit businesses,” McConnell said.
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