A new Democratic plan to break the logjam in COVID-19 stimulus relief negotiations would give people $1,200 in COVID-19 stimulus checks. However, according to Forbes, on September 30, Democrats delayed the vote on the plan to allow negotiations to continue.
That’s because they need the Republican-controlled Senate for anything to get through. Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein tweeted that there seems to be some hope, “Oh boy twitter. (Treasury Secretary Steven) Mnuchin just now on talks with Pelosi: ‘We have reached an agreement that if there is a deal there will be direct payments’ — meaning the $1,200 stimulus checks. Still need the deal tho!”
The plan would also include $600 in weekly unemployment benefits.
The new Democratic plan faces challenges because it would need to make it through the Republican-controlled Senate. For weeks, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have haggled over such things as the overall pricetag on the stimulus relief package and the amount of aid to give local and state governments. With the election looming, it’s far from certain that anyone is going to budge.
Forbes reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mnuchin were resuming talks on October 1. “We’ll have to see. If we have an agreement, we’re going to pass that agreement, then we’re done until after the election,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, according to Forbes.
Here’s what we need to know:
The Democratic Plan Totals $2.2 Trillion
Both sides have long agreed that a second round of stimulus checks is a good idea, and President Trump is on the record supporting them, but they’ve been stymied by disagreements on the overall pricetag of the second relief plan.
The new Democratic plan is called the updated Heroes Act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter, “Democrats are unveiling an updated Heroes Act that serves as our proffer to Republicans to come to negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country. This $2.2 trillion Heroes Act provides the absolutely needed resources to protect lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy over the coming months. It includes new funding needed to avert catastrophe for schools, small businesses, restaurants, performance spaces, airline workers and others.”
She added, “It has been more than four months since House Democrats sent the GOP Senate $3.4 trillion in desperately needed coronavirus relief grounded in science and data, and Leader McConnell hit the pause button. In our negotiations with the White House since then, Democrats offered to come down a trillion dollars if Republicans would come up a trillion dollars. Then, we offered to come down $200 billion more, even as the health and economic crisis has worsened and the needs have only grown.”
Republicans Want a Plan Closer to $1.5 Trillion
How far apart are the two sides? They’re getting closer. Initially Republicans wanted $1 trillion as the cap, and Democrats wanted a plan exceeding #3 trillion. Although the Democrats’ proposal represents a compromise from them on the overall amount of the second relief plan, Republicans wanted a plan closer to $1.5 trillion, according to CNBC.
The White House has proposed $1.5 trillion as a counter proposal.
“If it starts with a 2, it’s going to be a real problem,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Reuters on September 30.
According to Forbes, Pelosi said that Mnuchin and she “found areas where we are seeking further clarification” and Mnuchin said, “We’re gonna go back and do a little more work again.” Although by no means definitive on the chances of a second check, that’s rhetoric less sharp than previous comments from the two.
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