Another direct cash payment to Americans is still on the table in the next coronavirus relief package, despite the better-than-expected June jobs report, two Trump administration officials said Thursday,
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"It's a large-scale package," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told FOX Business. "Direct checks are probably going to be part of it, as far as the president is concerned right now."
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin likewise said during a press conference on Thursday that the White House is going to "seriously consider" another round of cash payments, even as the economy begins to gradually recover from the virus-induced recession.
Kudlow and Mnuchin's comments came on the heels of the Labor Department's June jobs report, which showed that employers added 4.8 million jobs in June — the biggest increase on record — and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent.
But because the report relied on surveys conducted in mid-June, it does not capture the recent closures in some states that have seen a spike in cases.
Its release came at the same time as the Labor Department's weekly data on unemployment claims, which showed that another 1.43 million Americans filed for jobless aid last week, indicating that layoffs are continuing to mount. Continuing claims, or the number of Americans who have received aid for more than two weeks, increased by 59,000 to 19.3 million.
In the past week, President Trump has vocalized his support for a second stimulus check, although it's unclear how much money Americans may receive.
“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly,” Trump said during a Wednesday interview with FOX Business' Blake Burman. “I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion.”
The CARES Act, signed into law at the end of March, sent one-time payments of $1,200 to individuals earning less than $75,000, and $2,400 to couples earning less than $150,000. The payments were tapered for higher-earners and phased out completely for individuals earning more than $99,000, and couples earning more than $198,000. Children under the age of 17 also received a check of $500.
Congress authorizes spending; Senate Republicans are expected to work in tandem with the White House to draft legislation, with some input from Democrats. Some Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said another payment is necessary for some Americans' survival.
The only proposal that’s been passed by either chamber of Congress is the HEROES Act, the massive $3 trillion relief package put forward by House Democrats. Among other things, it includes a second one-time payment of up to $1,200 to some Americans. However, the legislation has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
White House officials have said they do not intend to pass more relief measures until at least the beginning of July. The Senate is not scheduled to return from its two-week summer recess until July 20, making it unlikely that a fourth round of aid is passed before then.