President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday afternoon that stimulus checks that would put $1,200 in the hands of many Americans were ready to go, but progressives were preventing them from being sent.
“The Democrats are holding back the $1,200 to $3,400 (family of four) checks that were ready to be sent out!” he wrote.
Currently, the Senate, which is led by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is working on a trillion-dollar package that would provide additional relief to Americans. The bill would come as much of the previous legislation that was aimed at easing financial burdens facing many citizens begins to expire.
The new package reportedly would provide a second $1,200 payment to anyone who received the original check, while families would once again be eligible for up to $3,400.
But the Senate took a weekend break beginning on Thursday and won’t return until Monday, which means it is unlikely that there will be any movement in the next few days.
Members of Congress are reportedly debating over proposals that would help people pay rent and buy food as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage much of the nation, CNET reported.
Both progressives and conservatives have said that they’d like to see a payment to U.S. citizens as part of the next stimulus and the White House has signaled that it, too, supports such a move. Democrats have criticized Republican proposals as being too weak.
While Trump didn’t specify what he meant when he said that progressives were to blame for the delay, McConnell has said that Republicans made an effort to extend unemployment benefits but were stymied.
“Republicans tried several ways to extend unemployment benefits. Democrats blocked them all. They’re refusing any more COVID relief for anyone unless they get a massive tax cut for rich people in blue states. The country can’t afford this cynicism. Americans need help now,” McConnell tweeted just hours before Trump’s post.
The negotiations have reportedly hit a bump over extending unemployment benefits to those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Currently, people get $600 more than they normally would under the program, which is something that many Republicans have pushed against. There is also a push for rental assistance, which Trump has said he supports.
Congress will begin its summer recess on August 7. If a decision can be made before then, relief checks should begin heading out by the end of August. Otherwise, citizens will need to wait until September 8 when lawmakers return to their negotiations.