Business & Economy

On The Money: Trump, GOP clash over new round of checks | Dow sinks more than 700 points as COVID-19 surge shakes Wall Street | Senate Dems raise concerns about debit cards used for stimulus payments

Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Trump, GOP clash over new round of checks: Senate Republicans and President Trump are facing off over a new round of COVID-19 stimulus checks, with GOP senators warning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday to mind the mounting federal deficit.

Trump views the $1,200 “economic impact payment” checks that featured his name prominently as a political and economic winner. 

Many GOP senators, on the other hand, think a second round would be a huge waste of money.

  • “I expressed a lot of skepticism about the wisdom about doing another big spending bill,” Toomey, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said after the meeting.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said several of his colleagues spoke up at the meeting and “urged caution moving forward.”
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), another member of the Finance panel, said the round of $1,200 checks “was necessary at the beginning” of the crisis when people might have had to wait for state and federal unemployment benefits to catch up with the massive spike in layoffs and furloughs in March and April.

Mnuchin, walking into the Senate Republican lunch Tuesday, confirmed that another round of rebate checks is on the table but didn’t make a pitch to GOP senators at the lunch. 

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton has more here.

On tap tomorrow

  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton testified before a House Financial Services subcommittee during a virtual hearing entitled “Capital Markets and Emergency Lending in the COVID-19 Era,” 12 p.m.

LEADING THE DAY

Dow sinks more than 700 points as coronavirus surge shakes Wall Street: Stocks closed with steep losses Wednesday as surging coronavirus cases in the U.S. and abroad dampen the global economic outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 700 points Wednesday, closing with a loss of 2.7 percent. The S&P 500 index fell 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq composite fell 2.2 percent.

All three indexes opened with losses of more than 2 percent Wednesday as Texas, Florida, Arizona and several other states continued to report record-breaking coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. 

“The market is likely to remain headline-sensitive for a while, partly because corporate news is kind of light ahead of earnings. That means concerns about rising virus caseloads can often dominate the proceedings, which we’re seeing this morning,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, in a Wednesday research note.

“It’s not too surprising to see a little backtracking as negative headlines appear,” he added.

I explain why here.

  • The daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is the highest it has been since April as several states around the country experience spikes in cases, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday. 
  • Houston, the third-largest U.S. city, is also experiencing an explosion of COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm local intensive care units by the end of the week.

Dour outlook: The spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and several developing or emerging market nations prompted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to slash its forecast for global growth from its April projections.

  • The IMF now expects global economic gross domestic product (GDP) to fall 4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points higher than the 3-percent decline the international lender projected in April.
  • While the IMF expects global GDP growth to rebound to 5.4 percent next year, that rate is still 6.5 percentage points below the growth level projected by the IMF in January.

Senate Democrats raise concerns about debit cards used for stimulus payments: A group of Senate Democrats on Wednesday raised concerns about the coronavirus relief payments sent to taxpayers via prepaid debit cards, saying the cards have posed challenges for taxpayers.

“We are concerned that this decision has imposed unnecessary burdens — including fees — on individuals who would have preferred to receive their stimulus payments by check, and that the process of activating these prepaid debit cards requires individuals to provide personal information that could be shared with third parties for marketing and other commercial purposes,” the senators wrote in a letter dated Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

  • Under legislation enacted in March, most Americans are entitled to one-time direct payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. Treasury said earlier this month that it’s distributed 159 million payments.
  • The Treasury Department announced in May that it was distributing nearly 4 million of the payments via prepaid debit cards. 
  • The department said that it was sending the cards to people whose bank information was not on file with the IRS and who had their tax returns processed at IRS service centers in Andover, Mass., and Austin, Texas.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda has more here.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Many taxpayers who received or will receive their refunds after April 15 of this year will get interest payments from the IRS, the agency said Wednesday.
  • Facebook is coming under mounting pressure from major companies to rein in hateful content on the platform or risk further loss of ad revenue.
  • Democrats on a House subcommittee are seeking information about the Treasury Department’s administration of the “opportunity zone” program created by President Trump’s 2017 tax law.
Tags Donald Trump John Cornyn Marco Rubio Steven Mnuchin

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