Trump backs new stimulus checks amid Hawley push

Trump backs new stimulus checks amid Hawley push

President Donald Trump is getting behind a second round of stimulus checks, even as several of the leading coronavirus relief bills leave out new direct payments to Americans.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has spoken repeatedly to the president about the matter, including on Tuesday afternoon. He said that Trump will likely support at least $1,200 in payments for individuals, and could even go higher.

“I’d be surprised if he didn’t support $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples,” Hawley said on Tuesday afternoon after their conversation. “My sense is that it’s a very high priority. And he indicated as much to me on Saturday night when I spoke to him about it. He reiterated it again when I spoke to him today.”

Hawley has urged Trump to veto any bill that lacks direct payments, and he said the president listened to his argument.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a new proposal to Democrats to drop arguments over liability shields and state and local aid. And a bipartisan group of lawmakers continued meeting about their $908 billion plan.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday afternoon about a $916 billion coronavirus bill that includes $600 payments to individuals, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters.

None of those proposals include new direct checks, which were included in March’s CARES Act. Ben Williamson, a White House spokesman, confirmed that Trump supports including them in the next round of aid.

“While the amount is yet to be determined, direct payments to American workers continue to be a high priority of the president’s,” Williamson said.

Moreover, liberal senators are joining Hawley’s efforts, and House Democrats’ previous bills include new payments. And Hawley says the support is gaining steam with Republicans too, according to his private conversations.

“It’s very much alive and I think the president’s support is a very big deal,” Hawley said. “I can say with great confidence that he has been very supportive of direct payments and I’d be surprised if that changed.”

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