- No one should expect a new stimulus check anytime soon — but congressional leaders are at least still talking about the idea, which is a start.
- There’s an assumption that the bitter partisan fight over filling the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court will make it even harder and perhaps near-impossible now to reach an accord in Congress regarding new coronavirus stimulus legislation.
- On Tuesday, however, a key Trump economic official said that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case — that, in fact, both parties were already warring with each other well before the Supreme Court issue.
Larry Kudlow, a key Trump administration economic official who directs the National Economic Council, disputed the notion in an interview on Tuesday that the bitter partisan fight that’s looming over the appointment of a successor for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg means it’s now all but impossible for Congress to reach an accord on new coronavirus stimulus checks.
That idea is “not necessarily a given,” Kudlow told CNBC on Tuesday about his belief that passage of a new round of stimulus checks could still happen. Both parties in Congress, he argued, were already clashing with each other before the issue of whether and how to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat materialized. “I wish we could break the stalemate, because even though I think the economy is improving nicely, I think it could use some help in some key, targeted places,” Kudlow said. So do comments like that signal at least an outside chance that all the pieces could line up and new stimulus checks are possibly in our future?
Not necessarily. As we’ve been saying for a while now, the prudent assumption is probably to still not hold your breath over this.
House Democrats this week have been trying to resurrect the idea of more $1,200 stimulus checks, which were a key component of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed and the president signed into law back at the end of March. Stimulus checks were at the core of follow-up attempts at new coronavirus relief packages, but they were left out of the most recent stimulus legislation taken up by the GOP-controlled Senate which wanted to keep the price tag of that most recent package as low as possible.
House Democrats during a hearing on Tuesday pressed both Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the importance of getting new stimulus checks into the hands of Americans, perhaps thinking that having both officials reiterate the importance of this idea might help break up the logjam in Congress.
“The economic impact payments must be made, because the rent must be paid,” said Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas. “If we do not do this, we will put persons at risk of being evicted at a time when we are having a pandemic that is still taking lives in this country.” Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan pointedly asked Mnuchin: Yes or no, would a new round of stimulus checks give a boost to the economy?
“I do,” Mnuchin replied when asked whether or not he believed they would do so. “The administration does support another stimulus payment.” The onus, in other words, is on Congress, because it’s not the White House standing in the way of a new round of stimulus checks.