By Denitsa Tsekova
WASHINGTON, DC — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed support for more stimulus payments in the next round of government coronavirus relief, specifically if the checks target low-income Americans.
When asked at a public appearance in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell said the direct payment “could well” be part of the next round of stimulus.
“I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less, many of them work in the hospitality industry,” McConnell said. “The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked — hotels, restaurants — and so that could well be a part of it.”
Under the CARES Act enacted in March, the government sent $270 billion in stimulus checks as of May 31 to over 160 million Americans.
Single adults with income up to $75,000 were eligible for the full check, while reduced checks were available for single adults who earned between $75,001 and $99,000. Married couples with income up to $150,000 got at least $2,400 while those earning between $150,001 and $198,000 also received reduced checks. Parents of children under 17 received an additional $500 per child.
McConnell’s comments come as some Republicans discuss the scope and size of another wave of direct payments.
Last week, President Donald Trump indicated he supported another round of direct payments to Americans when asked by Fox Business News. “I do. I support it but it has to be done properly,” he said. “And I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats.”
Additionally, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters last week that “we’re going to seriously consider whether we need to do more direct payments,” since the first round “worked very well.”
The $3 trillion HEROES Act, which passed the House in May and has been held up in the Republican-dominated Senate, proposed $1,200 direct payments to individuals with a maximum amount of $6,000 per household.
Currently, Congress is on a two-week recess and it reconvenes on July 20 when lawmakers will likely continue discussing the scope of the next phase of stimulus.
“I can’t comfortably predict we’re going to come together and pass it unanimously like we did a few months ago. The atmosphere is becoming a bit more political than it was in March,” McConnell said. “But I think we will do something again. I think the country needs one last boost.”