Anyone who got a $1,200 stimulus check the first time is likely to get one again for the same amount

(Yahoo News) - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that there was a high likelihood of another round of cash payments for Americans.

Anyone who got a $1,200 stimulus check the first time is likely to get one again for the same amount

As expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire amid a new increase in jobless claims, lawmakers appear to be nearing consensus with the White House about how to further aid the United States' ailing economy.

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a Republican bill would extend a reduced level of federal unemployment income and include a second round of $1,200 direct payments very similar to those sent four months ago.

President Donald Trump, who has pushed a payroll-tax cut in recent months despite little support from his own party, "wants to get money into people's pockets now, because we need to reopen the economy," Mnuchin said.

"The president's preference," he added, "is to make sure that we send out direct payments quickly."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had said that any direct payment should be narrowly focused on Americans with lower incomes -- specifically, he targeted a $40,000 income ceiling.

Congressional Republicans have decried a $600 weekly unemployment bonus, which is set to expire at the end of the month as the pandemic rages in the United States. About 70,000 new coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, with the death toll reaching over 142,000.

Democrats sought to continue the full $600 unemployment bonus beyond July 31, as well as extend the stimulus payments to more people than included in the first round, like students and adult dependents.

There's ample evidence that the expanded unemployment payments coupled with the stimulus payments helped consumer spending rebound earlier this year despite record unemployment. Research has found that the government aid helped to keep about 12 million Americans out of poverty.

Experts expect the unemployment rate, which stood at 11.1% as of mid-June, to remain high for much of the year.