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The Trump administration is discussing another stimulus package with lawmakers that could be passed in July, the latest effort to revive the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“It’s something we’re very seriously considering,” Mnuchin said Tuesday in an interview during the Bloomberg Invest Global virtual event. He said he expects the U.S. economy to exit recession by year’s end.
President Donald Trump has said he’s considering sending another round of economic stimulus payments in a rescue package that he expects will be released “over the next couple of weeks.” Stocks rose Tuesday on optimism for more stimulus.
The Trump administration has privately discussed a US$1 trillion measure as a way to stimulate jobs growth after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mnuchin reiterated that he and the president are not inclined to shut down the economy a second time if there is a resurgence in coronavirus cases. He noted that in March when businesses were ordered to close, hospitals had been overwhelmed with patients and ventilators were running low.
“Right now we’re in a different situation,” Mnuchin said. The shutdown in March and April left more than 40 million people out of work.
Earlier Tuesday, Mnuchin met with Republican senators, who are considering whether the next stimulus measure should include another round of direct payments to individual households.
“We want to take our time and make sure we are thoughtful,” Mnuchin said after meeting with the lawmakers. “Whatever we do will be much more targeted and much more focused on jobs and bringing back jobs.”
Several Republican senators stood up in the meeting and urged Mnuchin to be cautious in doing more deficit spending and to narrow down any aid, lawmakers said.
At the center of the debate is whether to send a second round of payments to low- and middle- income individuals to help bolster household budgets that have suffered as the coronavirus has forced millions out of jobs and caused mortgage delinquences to reach their highest levels in nearly a decade.
Trump has signaled approval for the idea, but support is mixed among congressional Republicans about whether the cost is worth it.
Lawmakers included an initial round of US$1,200 checks to individuals earning up to US$75,000 and US$500 for their children in the stimulus package passed in March. The payments phased out for those earning up to US$99,000.
The Senate hasn’t yet begun serious negotiations on another stimulus bill, but those talks are expected to begin in mid-July.
Trump signed a US$2.2 trillion stimulus into law in late March that’s provided payroll support to small businesses, US$1,200 direct payments to families and boosted unemployment checks for millions of people out of work. The small business program’s initial US$350 billion was later retopped with US$310 billion.
The stimulus came after stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures were put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The virus has killed more than 120,000 people in the U.S. and put millions of people out of work.
--With assistance from Laura Litvan and Laura Davison.