Stimulus Check 2: Did Congress Agree on a Package?

covid-19 stimulus check

Getty What's the status on a second stimulus check?

Earlier this week, Congress committed to a self-imposed deadline of Friday, August 7, to reach an agreement on the terms of the next stimulus relief package. As of Friday morning, both sides of the aisle were still unable to agree on the details of a bill.

According to CNN, a three-hour meeting took place on Thursday night between senior administration officials and Democratic leaders, and it “yielded little progress as both sides seemed resigned to the likelihood that Congress won’t reach a major stimulus deal amid an economic crisis.”

CNN quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying, “We are very far apart — it’s most unfortunate.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed those sentiments, stating, “We are very disappointed in the meeting… They were unwilling to meet in the middle.”

Here’s what we know:

Both Sides Support a Second Round of Stimulus Checks

While Democrats and Republicans both support sending another round of stimulus checks, they are still divided over issues like unemployment benefits, according to The Guardian.

In the HEALS Act, Republicans propose extending federal unemployment benefits, but at $200 per week instead of $600, according to Fox.

Fox reported that the $200 per week would extend through the first week of October, “at which point states are supposed to bring a more complicated program online where those who are still unemployed can collect 70 percent of their former wages.”

Pelosi and Schumer have stood against this proposal, and have instead advocated for extending the jobless benefit at $600 per week. “Don’t nickel and dime our children,” Pelosi said. “Don’t say, ‘We want to give a tax break to a business lunch and not give more money for children to have food stamps.’”

Democrats and Republicans are also divided on how to help schools reopen safely amid the pandemic, and how to support state and local governments with budget deficiencies.

On Thursday, CNBC quoted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying, “I think there is a lot of issues we are close to a compromise position on, but I think there are a handful of very big issues that we are still very far apart.”

Trump Threatens Executive Order

It appears increasingly unlikely that an agreement will be reached on Friday. The White House, in response, has stated that Trump will use executive orders to address issues that both parties are still divided on.

In a Thursday tweet, Trump wrote, “Upon departing the Oval Office for Ohio, I’ve notified my staff to continue working on an Executive Order with respect to Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Protections, Unemployment Extensions, and Student Loan Repayment Options.”

Schumer has said that if Trump takes executive action, “things will get worse.”

On Friday, according to CNBC, Pelosi announced she would be willing to cut her proposal for a stimulus package by $1 trillion “if Republicans increased their plan by $1 trillion,” but the Trump administration declined.

Pelosi, Schumer, Mnuchin, and Mark Meadows are scheduled to meet again on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The Guardian reported that if an agreement is not reached by Friday, a vote may not take place until next week.

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