COVID-19 Stimulus Check Second Round: What Happens Now?


Stimulus Check

Negotiations around the next stimulus package stalled on Friday, August 7, CNN reports. The key lawmakers on the Democrat side were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Key lawmakers on the Republican side included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Both sides have indicated displeasure and frustration with negotiations, which stalled on Friday, the last day before the Senate’s scheduled summer recess.

On Thursday evening, Schumer told reporters, “They said they couldn’t go much above their existing $1 trillion. And that was disappointing. We’re hopeful that they will think about it and come back and tell us they’re willing to meet us halfway.”

Mnuchin shared a similar story of failed negotiations, telling reporters, “The president would like us to make a deal, but unfortunately we did not make any progress today. At this point we are going to recommend to the president that over the weekend we move forward with some executive actions.” Those executive actions, Mnuchin confirmed, will likely be related to student loans, unemployment benefits, and eviction bans, but not related to stimulus payments. 

So what happens now?

Here’s what you need to know:

Lawmakers Will Likely Continue Negotiations into Next Week, Stalling Summer Recess

Because of the significance of the legislation within the upcoming stimulus package, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers are expected to postpone summer recess and keep negotiating into next week. With that said, neither camp has clarified how those negotiations will proceed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed this delay to CNN earlier this week. He said, “We’ll certainly be in next week. We’ll see what happens after that.” If Congress can’t come to an agreement and the negotiators eventually end up going on summer break, then Americans should expect their next stimulus payment to come no earlier than mid-September.

As for whether Trump can decide to order a second round of stimulus payments by executive order, it’s not likely. As noted by Al Jazeera, the Constitution leaves responsibilities related to federal spending squarely in the hands of Congress, not the president. That means that Trump doesn’t technically have the power to decide how to spend the government’s money on the pandemic. If Trump did try to pass legislation via executive order, then he could be faced with legal action which could take months to move through.

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