Trump hints at 2nd round of covid stimulus checks after signing order to end importation of foreign labor

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President Donald Trump signaled in an interview Monday that most Americans could be receiving a second coronavirus relief stimulus check in the near future, as the House and Senate prepare to offer new funding legislation that is expected to include hundreds of billions in infrastructure spending.

Talk of new stimulus checks for Americans still reeling financially from COVID-19-related business closures and job losses comes on the heels of an executive order from the president ending nearly all importation of foreign labor via H-1B work visas for the rest of the year.

“Yeah, we are. We are. We will be doing another stimulus package,” the president said in response to a question about new cash payments to Americans from Scripps reporter Joe St. George. “It’ll be very good, it’ll be very generous.”

The president also recounted, as he often does to remind people, that the economy prior to the outbreak of coronavirus was doing very well and setting records.

“We had this going better than anyone’s ever seen before,” he said. “We had the best job numbers, the best economics, the best economy we’ve ever had. And then we the virus come in from China, and now we’re rebuilding it again.”

When pressed on how much Americans can expect, Trump responded, “You’ll find out,” adding that he expects House and Senate negotiators to settle on a bill within the next few weeks.

Officially, Fox Business Network reported, the White House has not yet taken a stance on another round of stimulus spending. However, earlier this month in testimony before a Senate panel, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin hinted that the administration was weighing new coronavirus stimulus checks for Americans.

But other economic advisers to the president have said a better route would be to lower payroll taxes and eliminate more regulations so that businesses and companies could revive more quickly and increase the pace of hiring and rehiring workers.

They also warn of the highest accumulated debt in the shortest amount of time for any administration in the history of the country.

In that vein, the president’s inherent desire to put the country first led him to sign an executive order on Monday drastically curtailing the H-1B immigrant guest-worker program so that Americans will have first dibs on jobs, Fox News reported.

In April, Trump signed an order that restricted some foreign workers but he held off on tackling the guest-worker program. Monday’s order directly addresses that.

“The new order extends the measure and goes further by pausing new H-1B tech worker visas, H-2B seasonal worker visas, certain J work and education exchange visitor visas and L executive transfer visas,” the news network reported.

“It will be in effect until the end of the year and will not affect those who already have a visa,” the network added.

There are some exemptions. For instance, the order does not affect foreign healthcare workers who are directly related to combating COVID-19 or other instances deemed in the national interest.

Also, members of the U.S. military are exempted, and the order will not affect the H-2A program for agricultural guest workers.

The order may not result in immediate effects but Fox News noted that administration officials and the White House believe that, ultimately, it will affect around 600,000 foreign worker visas by December 31.

“There are [sic] an unprecedented number of Americans who are out of work, but we are also expecting to see unprecedented growth in our economy,” a senior administration official told the network. “In order to ensure that we are hiring Americans first, we are putting a pause on certain non-immigrant visas into the United States, again for the purpose of ensuring that Americans can get jobs here in the U.S.”

Jon Dougherty

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