Meadows: Stimulus Package, Checks Will Be Crafted in Mid-July
USJack Phillips

The White House is aiming to craft a stimulus package that may include direct payments to Americans in the second or third week of July.

Chief of staff Mark Meadows, speaking to reporters on Monday, said administration officials—led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—will work on the package in the “second or third week of July … to address what the real needs are.”

“This will be all about the American worker,” Meadows said.

The administration and President Donald Trump have been “very supportive of another stimulus check,” Meadows noted. But Trump wants to “make sure the take-home check is greater with a payroll tax deduction,” he said.

Congress passed the CARES Act and Trump signed it into law in March, allowing for direct payments of up to $1,200 to be sent out to Americans, an extra $600 in weekly unemployment insurance payments, and loans to small businesses.

The latest stimulus package will have to “provide incentives for American manufacturing to be brought back from abroad,” Meadows said.

The House and Senate, meanwhile, went on recess last week and aren’t expected to return until July 20. Top Republicans suggested that the stimulus package will be worked on in the aftermath of the recess, while the extra $600 per week is expected to expire at the end of the month.

Trump, his advisors, and GOP leaders expressed that they have no appetite to extend the extra payments, saying they create a disincentive for Americans to return to work.

Barber London
People wait inside and others queue outside Savvas Barbers as it reopened following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, UK, on July 4, 2020. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

Meadows criticized Congress for taking a “three-week vacation” during the midst of an economic downturn and the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

His comments come on the heels of a Columbia University study (pdf) that estimated that the United States’ poverty level would have jumped to roughly 16 percent if the $1,200 checks were not distributed.

“If high unemployment rates persist beyond July 2020, additional income support will likely be needed to prevent subsequent increases in poverty and hardship,” the paper said.

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said on Sunday he doesn’t believe the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits are needed.

“It was a really important thing to do as we were shutting our economy down. Americans across the country were basically being told, and we needed to take measures, but they were basically being told, you can’t go to work right now. … I don’t think we need that $600 benefit going forward,” Scalia said on “Fox News Sunday.”

In some states, the additional unemployment benefits are slated to end several days earlier, coming on the Saturday or Sunday before July 31.

From The Epoch Times