Barring a disgruntled court or another victory, President Donald Trump will be President for a term of office, thus putting the fate of a second stimulus check in limbo.
Trump disputes the validity of the results of the 2020 elections that brought Biden above the threshold of 270 votes needed to win the presidency. With Republicans still controlling the Senate, and Democrats still controlling the House of Representatives and a new administration on the horizon, little has changed since election day in the political motivation of legislators to reach an agreement before the inauguration.
Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman, however, told Washington Newsday that it was an important step by the Democrats to pass another coronavirus aid package. He called it “unacceptable” that the two sides were unable to pass an aid bill before the election and said that now that the ballots have been cast, this must be “the sole focus of the Democrats.
“When we talk about putting the fight against the pandemic first, when what we say is the most important piece of the puzzle, we need to push as hard as we can to encourage people who are fighting right now,” Feldman said. “Until we get the virus under control, we have to make sure that hard-working Americans have what they need to put food on the table, and Congress has turned a blind eye to that”.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent months discussing a possible aid package with Trump administration officials, and both sides reportedly reached agreement on another round of stimulus controls. Had a package been put together, the second series of payments with economic impact would probably have corresponded to the first round, although it is possible that it would have been expanded to include additional payments of $500 for members of all ages. But agreement on stimulus packages means little without a broader package, since Pelosi was not interested in the relief being piecemeal.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is looking for another stimulus package, but a promising October employment report signaled to him that a more targeted approach is the right way forward. He told reporters in Kentucky that the 6.9 percent unemployment rate “reinforces” his argument that “something smaller is more appropriate than spending another $3 trillion on this issue.
The Democratic-led Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which was passed by the House in May, cost $3 trillion. But since then, the Democrats have started to think about a package in the $2 trillion range, and in the last round of discussions, a package worth $1.8 trillion was discussed.
Pelosi has not set a final price tag for the next round of relief, but he told reporters on Friday that a smaller package “I don’t like it at all”. Without destroying the virus, Pelosi said America would still “deal with the consequences.
“For us, the fact that we now have the President of the United States to speak to the American people in these terms is such an advantage that we are able to work together across party lines instead of the Republicans misrepresenting what we are trying to do in the United States Congress,” Pelosi said.
The Senate meets again, the House follows next week, and McConnell called the pandemic “Job One” on Wednesday. It is unclear, however, whether the two sides will be able to work together meaningfully, and with a view to January, the Democrats are at an advantage. Until the inauguration, the Democrats could have either won two Senate seats in the runoff election in Georgia to achieve a 50:50 split and thus gain control of the Senate, with Kamala Harris as vice president casting the votes with a tie. They will retain control of the House of Representatives, and with Biden in the Oval Office, this could be an advantageous position for Democrats seeking a larger package.
If the Republicans win at least one of the seats in Georgia, they will likely retain control of the Senate, putting the Democrats in much the same position they are in now, with the exception of control of the White House.
Technically, legislators will have enough time to pass an aid package before the inauguration on January 20 and make payments for the economic impact. But without a republican