Senator John Thune, of South Dakota, holds a top position in Senate Republican leadership. He’s number two in the Senate leadership. He now believes that there probably isn’t enough time for senators to pass a second stimulus relief package before the presidential election, which arrives on November 3.
The issue is that the Senate is scheduled to leave town on Monday, October 26, after it votes on the Amy Coney Barrett nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. And, judging from the wars of words that erupted over the weekend, especially between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump, a deal before Monday doesn’t look very likely. Sure, the Senate could return, but it’s unlikely to do so without a real chance for a deal once it leaves town.
The second stimulus relief plan would include $1,200 stimulus checks for qualifying Americans, according to comments both sides have made. They generally agree on the concept of a second round of direct payments. Their disagreements are over other things, including aid to state and local governments and the overall cost of the plan. Trump’s administration and Pelosi are about $400 billion apart on that, but Republicans in the Senate want far less.
Thune did say he thinks there’s a chance of a plan (that would include a second round of checks) “once the dust settles and the smoke clears from the election,” Bloomberg reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
Thune Says Senate Republicans Won’t Support Pelosi’s Version
Thune is the Republican majority whip who counts votes in the Senate. According to video of an appearance he gave on ABC News, Thune said, “I think right now we’ve had multiple votes in the Senate on a smaller version… the Democrats in the House obviously have a much larger version of this which can not pass in the Senate.” He said there was bipartisan agreement on multiple smaller measures but called the Republicans’ versions more fiscally responsible.
He added, “We can’t get the votes for the Pelosi version.”
He said that “even mechanically” he doesn’t know “if we can get a vote before the election.” He said the more likely scenario is that there would be an agreement to vote after the election. “If there’s a will, there’s a way, but they’re far enough apart right now not only on the amount but the policy.” He added, “The president wants to get a deal…at the moment we don’t have anything…where we can muster together enough Republicans.”
He said the “fog of politics” in a political season makes it hard to get it done before the election. “It’s a matter of timing.”
Trump & Pelosi Blame Each Other
Trump says it’s Pelosi’s fault, and his treasury secretary agreed.
“Now we’re talking and we’ll see what happens but at this moment I would say that I actually think Nancy would rather wait ‘til after the election,” he said, according to Reuters, which added that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “If she wants to compromise, there will be a deal.”
House Speaker Pelosi on a new stimulus bill: “To do anything, though, that does not crush the virus is really official malfeasance and to crush the virus we just have to follow the science: Testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing, ventilation, separation, and the rest” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/3CiZj25dPN
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 25, 2020
But Pelosi went on Jake Tapper’s show on CNN and said of Republicans and stimulus funding “They keep moving the goal post,” according to The Hill.
Tapper specifically asked whether there will be a stimulus package before the election. Pelosi said she wasn’t giving up hope.
“I’ll never give up hope,” she said on Sunday, according to The Hill. “I’m optimistic. We put pen to paper and have been writing the bill based on what we hope will be the outcome, what they said they would get back to us on.”
“We have to act,” she said. “To do anything though that does not crush the virus is really official malfeasance. And to crush the virus we just have to follow the science: Testing, tracing, treatment, mask wearing, ventilation, separation, and the rest.”