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GOP bickering may delay IRS stimulus payments

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

irs stimulus payments

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that a second round of IRS Coronavirus stimulus checks and payments will be included in the legislation he writes. However, it’s far from a done deal. Divisions among Republicans and the White House mean there is still much more negotiating to do before anything will be ready to go to Democrats for discussion.


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McConnell on second round of IRS Coronavirus stimulus checks payments

McConnell said Senate Republicans in general support a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. He made the remark following a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.

It was the first time McConnell confirmed that Republicans in the Senate will officially support sending a second round of IRS stimulus payments. He said they want another round of IRS stimulus payments “to help American families keep driving our national comeback.”

Before Tuesday’s remark, Republicans had debated among themselves whether more stimulus checks were necessary due to other priorities. McConnell’s remark is important because it indicates that Senate Republicans have joined Democrats and President Donald Trump in supporting a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks.

Although a major milestone has now been passed with Republicans finally on board with another round IRS stimulus payments, the details remain unclear. McConnell previously said he thought Americans earning less than $40,000 a year have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Thus, it was widely speculated that the income cap for the second round of coronavirus stimulus checks would be set at $40,000. However, after his remark on Tuesday, he offered no further details about eligibility for the second round of checks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi previously said she thought people earning more than $40,000 probably need help as well, so Democrats may want the income cap to be set higher. The question will be what Republicans come up with as a starting point for negotiations with the Democrats.

Republicans want to keep the next stimulus package at a $1 trillion price tag. A couple of ways to do that would be to tighten eligibility for the second coronavirus stimulus check and to reduce the amount of it.

Republicans split over next coronavirus stimulus package

McConnell’s comment about a second round of IRS Coronavirus stimulus checks payments indicates that at least one provision may have been agreed to. However, despite his comment, many Republicans may not actually support more coronavirus stimulus checks.

News reports indicate that several Republicans are speaking out against the bill as it’s taking shape under McConnell’s leadership. That means there may not actually be as much widespread support among Republicans for a second round of IRS stimulus checks as what is being reported.

CNN and The New York Times both report that the divisions within the GOP have gotten to extreme levels following Tuesday’s close-door meeting. The meeting was aimed at negotiating provisions to include in the next stimulus package.

However, it devolved into a venting session in which key members of the GOP talked about what should and shouldn’t be in the package. CNN quotes McConnell as saying that the proposal he is working “enjoys fairly significant support among Republican senators” and adding but “not everyone.”

In a floor speech before the meeting, he listed the provisions he expects to include in the Republican plan. Those provisions include $105 billion in funding for schools, more targeted funding for forgivable small business loans, a second round of IRS stimulus payments, and liability protections for schools, businesses, healthcare workers and hospitals.

Negotiations delayed by divisions

While many Republicans are rallying behind the proposal, many provisions are still being discussed with the White House. One area of hot debate is a payroll tax cut, which Trump has said must be included in the package, or he might think about not signing it.

At Tuesday’s meeting, many senators reportedly spoke up against the idea of a payroll tax cut. Some even questioned whether another major spending package is necessary as they expressed concern about the federal deficit and how much has already been spent to deal with the pandemic.

Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters that based on where the proposal stood after the meeting, he was “not only a no,” but a “hell no.” Sen. Rand Paul also said he doesn’t support the bill as it stands.

Negotiations on the package were supposed to start in earnest this week, but the divisions within the GOP have significantly delayed them. Republicans still plan to reveal their package this week, but they are swiftly running out of time.

Both houses of Congress will have to pass the bill by the end of next week. The longer Republicans take to come up with a starting point, the less likely Congress will be able to get something passed before the August recess. Negotiations with the Democrats are likely to be at least as difficult as the discussions among Republicans.

The August recess isn’t the only deadline lawmakers are up against. The extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits also runs out at the end of the month, and millions of Americans remain out of work.

Democrats want to extend the extra $600 in benefits, but Republicans will likely seek to decrease the amount of extra benefits. However, given the division over other provisions in the bill, the GOP may not have even gotten to discussing unemployment yet, which is likely to be a key sticking point with Democrats.

The New York Times reports that top Republican officials privately said the negotiations are likely to stretch into August, which will leave millions of Americans without extra help as the pandemic continues to rage.

The post GOP bickering may delay IRS stimulus payments appeared first on ValueWalk.

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