WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Comments made by President Donald Trump during a roundtable meeting in May have prompted speculation that Americans might receive a domestic travel credit as part of a second round of stimulus payments.
On May 18, Trump met with restaurant executives to discuss the future of the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting, Trump suggested a possible credit that could benefit the restaurant and travel industries, two of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus.
“Create an ‘Explore America’ – that’s ‘Explore,’ right?” Trump said, according to a White House transcript. “Explore America tax credit that Americans can use for domestic travel, including visits to restaurants. That’s a big deal.”
While the president didn’t mention any specified amount, U.S. tourism industry lobbyists have been circulating a proposal in Washington that would give people an extra $4,000 in tax breaks to spend at U.S. theme parks, restaurants, hotels and other travel-related businesses, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The details of the “Explore America” tax credit are still being finalized, according to the paper, but early drafts propose covering 50 percent of airfare and other travel costs up to $4,000 through 2021.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow praised the tax credit in a statement last month, saying:
“An ‘Explore America’ tax credit and campaign will do wonders to put America back on the path to prosperity. We applaud the president’s support, and with our industry’s health and safety guidance for the reopening of travel businesses in place, we are very prepared to work with the administration to push the effort forward at the right time.”
It’s not yet clear what form, if any, a second round of economic stimulus payments to Americans might take, but White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said last week that the odds of a Phase Four stimulus package “are very, very high,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to FOX Business, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested on June 10 that the Trump Administration is considering sending Americans another round of stimulus checks to aid in the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we’re going to seriously look at whether we want to do more direct money to stimulate the economy,” Mnuchin reportedly said during the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Mnuchin didn’t say which policies the Trump Administration was considering, however, several have been proposed by both Democrats and Republicans.
One proposal currently on the table is the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion bill, that includes $275 billion for testing and healthcare worker hazard pay, and a trillion dollars for state and local governments.
The HEROES Act was passed by House Democrats in May and would offer another round of $1,200 checks to American adults and children. It also expands the number of people who are eligible to receive government aid by including college students and older teenagers. The payments would be capped at $6,000 per household.
Are you interested in seeing how much money you could receive through the HEROES Act? You can do so by using this online calculator.