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GOP wary as Trump pushes new round of stimulus checks

President Donald Trump

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made it clear that he does not want negotiations with Democrats and Pelosi on another COVID-19 response bill to begin until next month.

Posted: Jun 23, 2020 5:51 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s call for another round of stimulus checks to most taxpayers is getting a lukewarm endorsement from his GOP allies on Capitol Hill, but it’s emerging as an early area of potential agreement with Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the next coronavirus bill.

In a fractured Washington, that could be a foundation of a winning coalition as lawmakers inch toward talks on the fifth, and possibly final, coronavirus relief measure before November’s elections.

Trump told an interviewer Monday that he supports another round of direct economic stimulus payments similar to the $1,200 checks issued to most individuals earlier this year.

“Yeah, we are,” Trump told a correspondent for Scripps television stations. “We will be doing another stimulus package. It’ll be very good. It’ll be very generous.”

On Tuesday, neither Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — the lead White House negotiator on the first package — nor Trump’s GOP allies raced to endorse the idea.

“As we’ve said before, we’re talking about a bunch of different ideas that we may need to do in another bill,” Mnuchin said after a lunch meeting with Senate Republicans where the topic received little discussion. “We’re going to take our time and make sure that we’re thoughtful. Whatever we do, it will be much more targeted, much more focused on jobs.”

Congress passed the first round of checks nearly unanimously in March as part of a coronavirus response bill, at a cost of almost $300 billion.

Both parties said the aid was essential as coronavirus lockdowns brought the economy to a near standstill.

The jobless rate is still high at almost 15% nationwide, though retail sales have rebounded.

House Democrats are fully onboard with another round, having included direct payments in a more than $3 trillion measure that they pushed through the House in May. But views in the GOP are more mixed, despite Trump’s support.

“He’s always wanted a second round of stimulus checks, and probably for good reason,” said Sen. Ken Cramer, R-N.D., who mostly endorsed the idea. “What we do next in addition to something like that should be very targeted, very specific to restarting, really restarting the economy. ... I think direct contribution installments to individuals could be a nice, a nice stimulus.”

Skeptics of direct stimulus payments say they are not targeted enough, but they have an undeniable political appeal, especially with the elections less than five months away.

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made it clear that he does not want negotiations with Democrats and Pelosi on another COVID-19 response bill to begin until next month.

Negotiations on the legislation are also likely to center on providing another round of aid to states and local governments and extending unemployment benefits — though not the $600 per week supplement enacted in March.

“My preference would be to extend unemployment insurance, but to do that in a more limited way, and a more targeted way,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who also wants adjustments to payroll subsidies for businesses and aid to states and local governments seeking help with their ballooning budget deficits.

Most Republicans know that Trump’s posture means it’s likely a cinch that another round of direct payments will make it into the upcoming bill, despite their reservations.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., discounted a reporter’s suggestion that there’s “pretty strong skepticism” by Republicans toward another set of stimulus checks.

“I don’t think it got to the point you can say that,” Blunt said.

Several Republicans, however, said they want to tighten eligibility for the stimulus payments to try to control costs.

“But we need targeted tailoring of any kind of stimulus measures if we really want to get it to the people who are hurting the most,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 80°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 84° Lo: 52°
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Friday is the beginning for a more summer-like forecast, with more heat and humidity returning to the region.
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