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Stimulus check 2 would boost economy, say business leaders

The outer facade of the New York Stock Exchange on a nearly deserted Wall Street early in the coronavirus crisis.
(Image credit: Cory Seamer/Shutterstock)

With the hope of resumed stimulus negotiations between Democrats and Trump administration officials still tenuous, financial leaders are calling on Congress to provide more aid to save a slipping economy. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers this week that failing to pass another stimulus package that includes stimulus check 2 could have long-term economic consequences — a warning that may push the opposing sides on Capitol Hill closer to consensus. 

Powell specifically called out the need for additional direct payments, noting that a lack of individual benefits — including the federal unemployment supplement and a second stimulus check — could leave many Americans who don't have savings without money to spend.

"Many borrowers will benefit from these programs, as will the overall economy," Powell said, according to CNBC. "But for others, a loan that could be difficult to repay might not be the answer, and in these cases, direct fiscal support may be needed."

Business leaders have echoed Powell's concerns about the impact of slowed spending on economic recovery. Corporate executives who are members of the Business Roundtable have called for "major support" to mitigate the fiscal effects of the coronavirus. Reuters reports that stocks have trended downward all  this week in response to these rising fears. 

Stimulus check 2 status

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have announced a commitment to restart stimulus negotiations in the coming days, and Pelosi has asked House committee heads to draft a new spending package in the ballpark of $2.4 trillion

Pelosi previously dropped the cost of the Democrats' demands from $3.4 trillion in the HEROES Act — passed by the House in May — to $2.2 trillion during negotiations last month. Meanwhile, the White House expressed willingness to spend up to $1.5 trillion, and possibly more, on a second relief bill. 

Senate Republicans haven't agreed to numbers in that range. In late July, GOP leaders introduced the $1.1 trillion HEALS Act, but the Senate has not held a vote on it. A more recent $500 billion "skinny" bill got the support of most Senate Republicans, but failed to advance. 

The details of House Democrats' upcoming proposal aren't yet clear, although both the HEROES and HEALS Acts include a second $1,200 stimulus check. It's a pretty safe bet the new bill will also include one.