President Trump on Monday said his administration is eyeing a second round of emergency stimulus payments directly to Americans, more than 30 million of whom have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re talking about that,” Trump said during a press conference when asked about the idea. “We’re talking about that with a number of different people. We’re talking about a payroll tax. I want to see various things, but we’re talking about that. We’re negotiating with the Democrats.”
The third phase of the coronavirus stimulus passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump in late March delivered $1,200 payments to many Americans, but most have likely burned through that money by now and will need more soon.
Trump has also repeatedly called for payroll tax cuts to be included in Phase 4 of coronavirus stimulus. In Phase 3, employers received a payroll tax cut, but Trump is pushing for the same benefit for employees in the next phase, which Congress is set to debate when lawmakers return.
In late April, a White House economic adviser said the Trump administration is “studying very carefully” whether to provide another round of stimulus checks beyond the one-time, $1,200 direct payments as part of a “phase-four deal.”
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters on the White House driveway that those who qualify could receive another check.
“I think that’s something we’re studying very carefully,” he said. “It’s very likely there’ll be a phase-four deal and we’re going to be speaking with the president throughout the week about what he thinks should be in there, and I know that [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)] and [House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA)] are working on that as well,” Hassett said.
“The odds of there not being at least one more round of legislation are pretty low,” Hassett said.
Under the $2.2 trillion Phase 3 stimulus bill passed last month by Congress, individuals are eligible for payments up to $1,200, but that amount declines for those with an adjusted gross income higher than $75,000 a year. The $1,200 payment drops by 5% of every dollar above $75,000, or $50 for every $1,000. The benefit doesn’t apply for individuals with incomes over $99,000.
Married couples with combined incomes up to $150,000 receive $2,400, subject to the same phaseout that applies to individuals. The payments are phased out entirely for couples making $198,000 or more. Families also get $500 per dependent child under the age of 16.
About 120 million U.S. taxpayers qualifed for direct payments from the federal government under the bill, according to an analysis by one think tank.
In his press conference, Trump also predicted the U.S. economy would make a swift recovery.
“Toward the end of the fourth quarter, you’re going to see some numbers that are going to be tremendous, I think. And next year you’re going to have potentially the kind of numbers that you saw before, and maybe even better, because there is that pent-up demand…,” he said.
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