Mnuchin backs 2nd wave of stimulus checks, wants more coronavirus aid passed this month

Trump's Treasury Secretary said he will discuss eligibility for the direct payments with Senate leaders.
Image: Steve Mnuchin
Steve Mnuchin during relief package negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, on March 23, 2020.Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Trump administration supports another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans in the next coronavirus relief package, which he says should be passed by Congress by the end of the month.

In an interview on CNBC, Mnuchin was asked Thursday whether he supports direct payments only to people who make $40,000 or less a year, which some have suggested may be favored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"I'm not gonna go into the specific details today on that, but what I would say is we do support another round of economic impact payments," Mnuchin said. "In most cases those are not checks, it's direct deposits and we can get that into hard-working Americans' bank accounts very, very quickly."

He added, "The level and the criteria we'll be discussing with the Senate...As soon as the Senate gets back, we're gonna sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats and it will be our priority to make sure between the 20th and the end of the month that we pass the next legislation."

Mnuchin said that he had a "very productive call" with McConnell and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday about negotiations, which he said will resume with Democrats later this month.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday questioned the income threshold proposal of $40,000 and said that McConnell had not spoken to her about it.

"I don't know where the $40,000 came from. I think there are many families depending on size of family and so many different things, that the $40,000 would have to be explained, justified and the rest," she said. "But I think families making over $40,000 probably need assistance. Again, just depending on their family situation."

House Democratic leaders are pushing for another round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per person. The eligibility would be the same as in the first wave — for individuals making less than $99,000 a year and couples making under $198,000.

President Donald Trump also has signaled that he’s open to another round of direct payments.