With the election looming, you may be wondering whether you will get a second COVID-19 stimulus check before that date. The answer: Even though both sides have generally agreed on another $1,200 check (with $3,400 for a family of four under the Republican version of the plan), the chances of a second check before the election are looking increasingly unlikely.
The bottom line is that this one falls into the “well, anything is possible” category, but it’s becoming highly unlikely. For weeks, both sides have been locked into a bitter negotiation battle that has resulted in little more than wars of words.
Millions of Americans, of course, could use a second check.
On Monday, September 14, 2020, the U.S. House came back into session. Bloomberg called this the “last chance to salvage stimulus deal” that could include a second round of stimulus checks. However, that last chance doesn’t look very likely to be exercised.
That’s based on the rhetoric of officials on both sides in the last couple days. With the election looming, it may be that each side doesn’t want to hand the other the victory. Democrats may be assuming people will hold it against Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump that a second stimulus check hasn’t made it into people’s pockets. Republicans may be counting on people blaming Congress, giving Trump a chance to rhetorically support the checks (he can’t authorize them on his own because the U.S. Constitution gave funding authority to Congress.) An improving stock market may be providing less pressure on both sides to get it done.
Here’s what you need to know:
Republicans Tried to Get a Second Stimulus Relief Plan Through But Democrats Weren’t Having It
Republicans decided to try breaking the logjam with a narrower plan, but that didn’t even include a second round of stimulus checks, and Democrats immediately shot it down. “We all want to have an agreement,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on September 14, “but it has to be real. What the Senate did was not real.
Democrats passed their own version of a second stimulus relief plan months ago, but Republicans balked at the overall pricetag, preferring a plan that cost less and leaving the two sides about $1 trillion apart. One sticking point: Democrats wanted more money for state and local governments than Republicans are willing to give. Trump has accused them of wanting to bail out Democratic-run states, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi labeled “pathetic,” according to CNN.
The Republicans’ so-called “skinny” bill would have approved some aspects of the stimulus relief plan but not stimulus checks; Democrats labeled it an “emaciated” bill, saying it didn’t include enough.
Now, as the House returns, the wars of words are still flying around.
A White House Economist & the Treasury Secretary Urged Democrats to Get a Package Done But Democrats Have Blamed Republicans
Some top Republicans continue to urge a check. “Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC. “There was a time when the Fed was shrinking the balance sheet and coming back to normal. The good news is that gave them a lot of room to increase the balance sheet, which they did.” His comments may be directed more at the Republicans who have raised concerns about deficit spending as stimulus check negotiations grind on.
“The majority of Republicans are now no different than socialist Democrats when it comes to debt,” Republican Senator Rand Paul wrote on Twitter in July. “They simply don’t care about debt and are preparing to add at least another trillion dollars in debt this month, combined with the trillions from earlier this summer.”
Stephen Moore is an economist who advises Trump. He had some harsh words for Democrats, saying, according to The Hill, “Come on, Nancy Pelosi. Come on, Chuck Schumer. Come together for the good of the country. Get a deal done! … What is holding things up? I think it’s pure politics.”
According to The Hill, Pelosi and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement that read: “Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere. If anyone doubts McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill. This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support.”
Axios reported that Senator Pat Roberts said negotiations between the too sides were at “a dead-end street,” and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said, “Congress is not going to pass another COVID relief bill before the election.”