President Trump said Friday that he had directed the Treasury Department to prepare a second round of stimulus checks for American families, but he blamed Democrats for holding up the direct payments.
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"I have directed @stevenmnuchin1 to get ready to send direct payments ($3,400 for family of four) to all Americans," Trump wrote. "DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!"
Both political parties broadly support sending another cash payment of $1,200 for adults and $500 for kids -- meaning that a family of four could receive up to $3,400, with the necessary qualifications nearly identical to the first stimulus check.
"I’m waiting for the Democrats to approve it," Trump said during a White House press briefing, clarifying that he was not planning to act unilaterally on the stimulus checks.
But Trump's comments come amid a weekslong impasse between White House officials and top Democrats over a fourth virus relief package.
The high-stakes stalemate over the next rescue bill appears likely to drag on for weeks, possibly into September, putting at risk potentially trillions of dollars in aid amid a pandemic that's infected more than 5 million and triggered the worst economic downturn in decades.
The two sides indicated Thursday that an agreement is still out of reach after six days of no in-person meetings. Democrats are now saying they will only sit down with Republicans if they agree to a $2 trillion price tag.
Asked Thursday when she thought she might speak with Republicans again, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters: "I don’t know. When they come in with $2 trillion."
The Senate is now scheduled to be in recess until Labor Day after technically remaining in session an extra week. But most members returned to their home districts last week. House lawmakers left last week and are not slated to return until the second week of September.
One of the biggest sticking points between the parties is the cost of the proposal. House Democrats passed a roughly $3 trillion bill in May, while Senate Republicans introduced with legislation worth about $1 trillion at the end of July. The Trump administration rejected an offer by Pelosi last week to meet in the middle at $2 trillion.
In both proposals, individuals who earn a gross adjusted income of up to $75,000 would receive a second $1,200 payment. For higher earners, the checks will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in income and phased out entirely at $99,000 and $198,000.
The Republican proposal would keep the $500 amount for dependents established in the CARES Act but would modify it so families with dependents over the age of 17 will be able to receive the extra cash. Democrats support giving dependents a $1,200 payment.
A senior Treasury Department official told FOX Business the borrowing rate on the direct payments would be about $1 trillion. The Treasury has the money available now to begin making the payments and is doing the background work in order to be able to deliver them as soon as possible once Congress passes legislation, the official said.
Trump said he's also prepared to ask the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to reopen the Paycheck Protection Program, a $670 billion fund designed to keep small businesses afloat and avert mass layoffs, for the hardest-hit businesses.
FOX Business' Edward Lawrence contributed to this report