As House Republicans and Democrats continue to negotiate a new COVID-19 stimulus package, Congressman Mark Green said Thursday that he would be in favor of spending the estimated $1.8 trillion in still undisbursed relief funds first "before we go writing another huge check."
Where negotiations stand
In March, the $2.2 trillion stimulus package known as the CARES Act was passed into law, $300 billion of which was used to direct payments to millions of Americans. Supplemental legislation has led to trillions more being allocated towards COVID-19 relief, with the latest stimulus package — which could include additional checks to Americans — being negotiated since May.
The HEROES Act, which was passed in the House on May 15, allocated more than $3 trillion in spending, including more stimulus checks to Americans. Negotiations on the HEROES Act have gone on for months, with Republicans counteroffering in September with a $500 billion stimulus package.
Last week, President Donald Trump proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus package, the highest offer yet from Republicans during current negotiations. Despite the drastic increase from offers in the past, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled she would not be in favor of the proposal due to disagreements over the packages' lack of funding for COVID-19 testing, among other things.
Rep. Green's position on a new stimulus package
Green said that due to the constant negotiations, what could be included in the next stimulus package is hard to pinpoint at any given time, but that he knew the "general 100,000 foot view" of inclusions thanks to daily briefings.
When asked whether he would be agreeable to another stimulus package given that it meets his standards, Green said that while it was "hard to say," he would rather see funds already allocated for COVID-19 relief but not yet spent be used before "[going] into debt further."
"My standards are let's spend the other money in the CARES Act before we go into debt further; we've got $1.8 trillion that has not been spent," Green said.
"We need to leverage that money that's been allocated and get that distributed to the economy before we go writing another huge check. So it'd have to be a very targeted, microscopic surgical stimulus for me to authorize more money considering we've got $1.8 trillion not spent."