The majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has adjourned the Senate until November 9 because Congress is still stalled over another round of coronavirus aid for the Americans. A second check for $1,200 will be issued after election day at the earliest, but it could be issued later this year.
In August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pointed out that once a law is passed, the government will be able to make tens of millions of direct payments “very quickly” within a few weeks.
The deadline for passing the next federal budget falls on December 11. Congress must pass another spending bill by that date to avoid a standstill, and legislators could use the window of opportunity to pass an economic stimulus package.
In this scenario, Americans could see direct payments settled in the weeks that follow. Earlier comments from negotiators suggest that a second round of checks would look similar to the first. But a comprehensive agreement would have to be passed before the Americans could see another payment.
Last week, House of Representatives spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said negotiators had made “good progress” in establishing guidelines for “dismantling the virus. She noted that Republicans and Democrats still have some differences, but stressed that both sides are “working through” them.
“We put the pen to paper, we write the bill, and hopefully we will be able to resolve it,” she said, “We could do that before the election if the president so desires. I think he wants it. I know we want it. But we want it to be a bipartisan bill.”
Pelosi and Mnukhin, who is leading the talks for the Trump administration, began negotiations in August for another round of stimulus measures. In the midst of months of stalemate in the relief effort, Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the stalemate. Pelosi accused the GOP of not providing enough funding to adequately address the economic impact of COVID-19, while Republicans accused Democrats of using the pandemic to advance their political agenda.
On October 22, Pelosi told reporters that she and Mnukhin were “almost there” and expressed optimism about the prospect of an agreement. When asked about the stimulus packages, Pelosi said, “I think we have now agreed on the direct payments. President Donald Trump has publicly spoken out in favor of sending more direct payments and said he would immediately sign a bill for $1,200 checks.
A new survey by Morning Consult, published Wednesday, showed that 45 percent of voters blamed Trump and the Republicans for the lack of relief, and 40 percent blamed the Democrats. Another 15 percent said they did not know which party was responsible.
The White House has now risen to $1.9 trillion, a figure close to the Democrats’ recent $2.2 trillion offer. Some Democrats have criticized Pelosi for rejecting the offer, while millions of Americans are struggling to pay rent and food in the midst of the pandemic.
Tekk.tv turned to the Treasury Department for comment.