In a matter of hours Tuesday, President Donald Trump publicly announced an end to negotiations with House and Senate leaders on direct payments to help Americans hit by the economic impact of COVID-19 before publicly reopening negotiations with Democratic leaders again.
“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
He accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “not negotiating in good faith” and asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to focus on confirming his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
Then, Tuesday evening, the president took to Twitter again. He called for Congress to send him a bill featuring solely the stimulus checks, which Trump said he would support.
“If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” Trump tweeted, tagging McConnell, Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
In the first round of stimulus checks, individuals who made up to $75,000 received $1,200, with amounts reduced for Americans who earn up to $99,000. Married couples who file jointly and earn up to $150,000 received $2,400, with amounts reduced for those who earn up to $198,000. Adults with children under the age of 17 received $500 per child.
The majority of Americans qualified for the direct payments, the first round of which were distributed to Americans starting in the spring.
About 130 million individuals received payments totaling more than $200 billion by mid-May, the IRS said.
The checks were part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act hammered out by Republican and Democratic leaders and signed by Trump in late March. The bill was the third economic boost amid the crisis.
House Democrats unveiled a massive coronavirus stimulus package in May offering another round of direct payments to millions of Americans.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or the HEROES Act, includes more than $3 trillion in aid for local and state government, hazard pay for healthcare workers, in addition to direct payments.
“People across our nation are hurting, and Congress must take extraordinary, immediate action to provide them with relief,” said Massachusetts Congressman Richard E. Neal in May. “Families are feeling the pain of a terrible one-two punch — a national public health emergency coupled with a historic economic downturn. The gravity of our new reality demands substantial solutions, and that’s what Ways and Means Democrats offer in this latest response package.”
The HEROES Act passed in the House but failed to advance in the Republican-led Senate. Democratic lawmakers revised the stimulus bill this month, which now reflects $1.2 million in cuts to the initial measure.
The new bill includes $1,200 direct payments to the majority of Americans — with a notable difference. In addition to $1,200 payments to Americans who earn up to $75,000 and $2,400 for married couples who earn up to $150,000, who is considered a dependent has been expanded. Not only do taxpayers receive $500 per child 17 or younger, they also receive payments for adult dependents, in recognition of families with college students who rely on their parents for financial support.
The bill would also restore the $600 in federal unemployment benefits which ended during the summer.