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Kudlow Says Coronavirus Relief Package Will Include Second Round of $1,200 Direct Payments

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks about the coronavirus at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 28, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Sunday that the coronavirus relief package being drafted by Senate Republicans will include a second round of direct payments to Americans as well as an extension of the moratorium on evictions for renters.

“There’s a $1,200 check coming, that’s going to be part of the new package,” Kudlow said in an interview with CNN.

The $1 trillion stimulus bill, which will be the fifth coronavirus relief package if passed by Congress, will also include an extension of the federal eviction moratorium, put in place in late March when states implemented lockdown measures and businesses began laying off employees.

The bill is also expected to include more funding for the administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which helps businesses struggling during the pandemic to meet payroll without furloughing or laying off employees, and will reduce but extend the expanded unemployment benefits included in the CARES Act, the massive $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package lawmakers approved in March. Out-of-work Americans are currently receiving $600 more in jobless benefits a week, but those expanded benefits expired over the weekend.

Senate Republicans also plan to include $16 billion in new funding for coronavirus testing and $105 billion to help schools reopen, which will be awarded partially based on whether schools reopen for in-person classes, as well as liability protection for businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

“The check is there, the reemployment bonus is there. The retention bonus is there,” Kudlow said. “There will be breaks, tax credits for small businesses and restaurants.”

“It’s a very well-rounded package,” Kudlow continued. “It’s a very well targeted package.”

President Trump had pushed for a payroll tax cut in the upcoming relief bill, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that it will not be included in this bill, although the tax cut could be revisited in a later relief bill.

After four months of lockdown and social distancing restrictions in states across the country, nearly 32 million Americans are out of work and receiving unemployment benefits, but Kudlow predicted that the 10 percent unemployment rate would soon decrease.

“The odds favor a big increase in job creation and a big reduction in unemployment,” the White House economic advisor said.

The next relief package comes as cases of the coronavirus explode in several southern and western states, forcing governors to close businesses that they previously allowed to reopen.

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