Negotiations in Congress over whether to grant Americans a second COVID-19 stimulus check have dragged on for weeks. The first COVID-19 stimulus checks gave most qualifying Americans $1,200 checks. Republicans and Democrats generally agreed on the concept of a second check, at least rhetorically, following roughly the same amounts as last time. However, both sides want to give money to more adult dependents, and that increased the Republican proposal for a family of four to $3,400.
However, it’s looking increasingly unlikely you will get a check, at least not before the election. In fact, a CNN story put the odds that a stimulus relief plan will pass before the election at “practically” zero. Here’s why.
Neither side can agree, and negotiations have derailed into negative comments being slung by both sides at the other. It’s all about the election, some might argue. With the election looming in early November, neither side appears to want to grant the other the political victory of getting this done. President Donald Trump says he wants Congress to grant a second round of checks, but the Constitution gave funding authority to Congress, not the president. Due to the controversy over Trump’s name being stamped on the last round of checks, Democrats might not want to give him that positive advertising right before the election. Republicans might think it helps Trump if people blame Democrats in Congress for not getting the checks through.
In addition, the two sides disagree on the overall pricetag of the second stimulus relief plan and how much money to give to state and local governments for coronavirus. Thus, the stimulus checks have gotten snagged in conflicts over other things.
Which side is right is of course a judgment call depending on your political perspective.
Here’s what you need to know:
Stimulus Checks Were Left Out of the So-Called ‘Skinny’ or ‘Emaciated’ Bill
Republicans introduced what they called a “skinny bill” to get some relief measures through the logjam. However, Democrats quickly labeled the plan “emaciated,” and nixed it.
Demonstrating why a second stimulus check is increasingly unlikely right now, Republicans didn’t even include stimulus checks in it.
Could this change? Could the sides suddenly agree and pull a stimulus check rabbit out of the hat? Sure, anything is possible, but the rhetoric on both sides has been positively gloomy.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told USA Today: “As they scramble to make up for this historic mistake, Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere… This emaciated bill is only intended to help vulnerable Republican Senators by giving them a ‘check the box’ vote to maintain the appearance that they’re not held hostage by their extreme right-wing that doesn’t want to spend a nickel to help people.”
“I wish I could tell you we were going to get another package, but it doesn’t look that good right now,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on September 11, according to Newsweek.
The Hill reported that economist Stephen Moore, who advises President Trump, called on Democrats “to get a deal done,” saying, “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.” He was speaking to John Catsimatidis, a radio host.
Pelosi labeled a Trump tweet “pathetic” that accused Democrats of wanting trillions of dollars in “bailout” money for Democratic states.
There Are Different Amounts Proposed for a Second Round of Stimulus Checks
Neither side has formally agreed on the amount of a second stimulus check, either. Although both sides indicated previously that they liked the idea of a second check mirroring the amounts in the first one ($1,200), both sides wanted to tack on a little extra.
They both agree that more dependents should be included this time. The first round of checks excluded a lot of adult dependents, such as college students. This time, Republicans would give a family of four $3,400 in a plan they’ve floated. (that’s $1,200 for each parent plus $500 for each kid.) Democrats would go higher. They would give people $1,200, not $500, for dependents, for up to three children, Intelligencer wrote.
There are other plans out there – by Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris and a group of Republican senators – but they don’t seem to be getting any traction.
“The speaker has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a $2.5 trillion deal in advance,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “…let’s not hold up the American workers and American businesses that need more support.”