Millions of Americans could use a second COVID-19 stimulus check. It looked likely they might get one soon because both Democrats and Republicans indicated they agreed that sending a second round of checks to Americans was a good idea. The checks were expected to range from $1,200 to $3,400 for a family of four because officials said there was general agreement that they should follow the same guidelines used for the first round of stimulus checks.
However, on August 13, the U.S. Senate adjourned until Labor Day for its summer recess without coming to a deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did tell NBC News that the Senate could come back to Washington D.C. if a deal is struck. However, the two parties are still $1 trillion apart, according to NBC.
That means Congress won’t be officially back in session until September 8, 2020, according to Forbes.
President Donald Trump used four executive orders to get some aspects of the stimulus package done, such as extended unemployment benefits. However, questions remain about the legality of that approach, and the executive orders did not include COVID-19 stimulus checks.
Thus, the entire idea of a second stimulus check is still in limbo, and it looks less and less likely checks will arrive in August due to the Senate’s recess.
Here’s what you need to know:
Democrats & Republicans Haven’t Negotiated Since Trump’s Executive Orders
The two sides haven’t negotiated at all since Trump unveiled his executive orders on Saturday, August 8, according to Forbes.
The Hill reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on August 13 that Democrats won’t sit back down with Republicans unless they come up by $1 trillion. Democrats want a stimulus package worth about $3.4 trillion, and Republicans are locked in at $1.1 trillion.
“When they’re ready to do that, we’ll sit down,” Pelosi said, according to The Hill. Pelosi described the two sides’ differences as “vast,” saying, “It’s no wonder we have a vast difference because this administration, other Republicans in Congress have never understood the gravity of this situation,” USA Today reported.
Pelosi told Fox News she might speak with Republicans again “when they come in with $2 trillion.”
The Senate Majority Leader Has a Different Take on the Stalled Negotiations
McConnell had a sharply different take on why negotiations haven’t restarted in earnest. He called the Democrats’ plan a “completely unrealistic, far-left proposal” and accused them of holding negotiations “hostage” over “non-COVID-related ideological items,” USA Today reported.
“The speaker and the leader have not conceded anything,” McConnell said, according to the newspaper. “They haven’t budged on their absurd demands. Their partisan games continue. And so the nation’s pain continues, too.”
Fox News reported that the two sides didn’t meet in-person for the six days after negotiations fell apart.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has called on Democrats to negotiate, saying, according to Fox News, “My view on negotiations is you agree on the things that you can agree on, half legislation that’s good for the American public, and then come back for another bill.”