President Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday that he supports another round of direct stimulus payments as part of a potential phase four coronavirus relief package.

Why it matters: 19.5 million Americans remain on unemployment after initially applying, according to data from the Labor Department released last week.

What he's saying: "I do. I support it," Trump said, when asked about another round of direct payments for Americans. "But it has to be done properly. And I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats. But it's got to be done properly."

  • "We're getting together, we're going to meet tonight. And we're going to make a determination," Trump responded when asked if he thinks Congress should extend the supplemental $600 per week unemployment benefits that were first enacted in the CARES Act.
  • "We had something were they wanted where it gave you a disincentive to work last time. And it was still money going to people and helping people so I was all for that. But we want to create a very great incentive to work. So we're working on that and I'm sure we'll all come together."

Between the lines: The president did not specify when asked by Fox Business' Blake Burman whether he wants direct payments to Americans to increase or whether unemployment benefits should be expanded. Many Republicans oppose the supplemental UI benefits because they believe Americans could make more money on unemployment than they would at a minimum-wage job.

  • "I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion. And they wanted to make it too complicated," Trump said in response.
  • "Also, it was an incentive not to go to work. You'd make more money if you don't go to work. That's not what the country is all about. And people didn't want that. They wanted to go to work. But it didn't make sense because they make more money if they didn't."

The big picture: With just an 11-day window in late July to act on another stimulus package, and without the market free fall of March to motivate them, Congress may choke on a compromise package that many economists see as necessary to keep the economy upright, Axios' Alayna Treene and Dion Rabouin report.

Go deeper: The big divide over the next stimulus

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Updated Oct 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says he won't take part in virtual debate

Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump, who continues to battle a coronavirus infection, told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday that he will not take part in a virtual second presidential debate, with his campaign later saying he would do two in person debates later on this month.

What he's saying: "I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. It’s not what debating is all about. ... It’s ridiculous," the president said.

Updated Oct 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden balks at Trumpless town hall debate

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images; Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

After President Trump announced he would not participate in a virtual debate next week, Joe Biden's campaign released a statement Thursday that the former vice president would instead "find an appropriate place to take questions from voters directly."

The state of play: The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the town hall would be entirely virtual "for the health and safety of all involved" as Trump continues to recover from coronavirus.

D.C. urges Rose Garden ceremony attendees to get tested for COVID-19

Staff and visitors during a ceremony to announce Barrett as Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington, D.C. Department of Health on Thursday asked attendees and White House staff at the Rose Garden celebration for the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26 to seek medical advice and get tested for COVID-19 by their local health department.

Why it matters: The outbreak tied to the White House contributed to an increase in the District's caseload. D.C. experienced a 26% increase last week, rising from some 40 new cases per day to about 50.