COVID-19 stimulus: McConnell supports second round of direct payments

Senate Democratic leader Mitch McConnell declined to offer details on what a second round of direct payments would look like. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
July 21 (UPI) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he wants another round of direct payments to be included in Congress’ next stimulus package, though details have yet to be worked out.

Speaking from the Senate floor, McConnell said the payments would be one of several items included in the package expected to be around $1 trillion.

Many Americans received a $1,200 check — plus $500 per child — earlier this year as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Lawmakers have called for another round of direct payments as unemployment claims skyrocket, but Democrats’ call for checks to be issued to undocumented immigrants has met resistance from Republicans.

McConnell has shown support for further direct payments, but declined to offer specifics on the amount and who qualifies.

“Speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments,” he said.

Earlier this month, McConnell suggested that only Americans making $40,000 a year or less may be eligible for a potential second round of direct payments. That means about 20 million fewer people would receive checks.

Under the CARES Act, individuals earning up to $75,000 received a full $1,200 check and couples earning up to $150,000 received $2,400. Smaller checks were sent to individuals earning up to $99,000.

It’s unclear if the $40,000 cutoff would make it into the final language of the next stimulus package.

In addition to the direct payments, McConnell said Senate Republicans support expanded funding under the Paycheck Protection Program and additional education funding — $105 billion — to help schools reopen amid the pandemic.

House Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he supports education funding but not if it’s tied to Trump’s push for schools to full reopen to in-person classes.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., accused Republicans of “using student safety as a bargaining chip.”

“Any attempt to condition funds on physically reopening is a non-starter for Democrats,” she said.

The Democratic-led House passed its own version of the next coronavirus relief package in May, but Trump promised to veto the $3 trillion legislation if it comes to his desk.


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