The presidential election is over, although it’s bogged down in legal challenges and continuing ballot counts. Does that mean that you will get a $1,200 second stimulus check from the government now (and $3,400 for a family of four)?
Those are the amounts that both Republicans and Democrats conceptually agreed on as negotiations bogged down in the days before the election. Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading in the electoral college, although President Donald Trump has claimed he’s being cheated and is fighting on.
Both men have voiced support for a second round of stimulus checks. But it’s really in the hands of Congress. It’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, who has insisted on a bill around $500 billion, saying his members won’t support more. It’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, who has remained firm, saying that Democrats’ $2.2. trillion plan is what Americans need.
There’s a new Congress coming in soon now, but this is critical; control of the U.S. Senate is likely to hinge on the fate of two Georgia Senate elections. One is headed to a runoff in January and the second is still up in the air in the traditionally Republican but now changing state; the second Republican leads by 49.8% with 98% of the vote counted, but he needs 50% to avoid a runoff and win outright. Control of the Senate matters because a Senate in Democratic hands, with a Democratic White House and U.S. House, would probably mean a bigger stimulus relief plan would go through.
Here’s what you need to know:
McConnell Now Says He Wants to Pass a New Stimulus Relief Package Before the End of the Year
McConnell has to look ahead to the midterms with a razor thin majority if the Georgia races come through for Republicans. He had previously said he didn’t think a stimulus plan would happen until 2021. However, now he says he wants to pass one before the end of the year, CNBC reported.
In fact, he says it will be the Senate’s top priority, according to CNBC.
“As I’ve said repeatedly in the last few months, we need another rescue package,” McConnell said on November 5, according to CNBC. “Hopefully, the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election. And I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year.”
He added: “I think that’s job one when we get back. Hopefully we get a more cooperative situation than we’ve had.”
Democrats’ Performance on November 3 Could Signal a Smaller Overall Package
According to Bloomberg, Democrats may have to compromise now that the election is over because, although Biden may become president, Democrats lost House seats and don’t appear likely to seize control of the Senate. That took away their leverage, Bloomberg reported.
Talks continued before the election between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but they broke down, and the president – whether it’s Trump or Biden – doesn’t have the authority to approve stimulus checks or a second relief package on his own. That’s because the U.S. Constitution gave control of funding to Congress.
Pelosi has focused her rhetoric recently on health care and coronavirus response, writing, on Twitter, “Affordable health coverage is more essential than ever during the pandemic. Families can rest assured that Democrats will continue to fight so millions of Americans will have access to quality, affordable plans through the ACA marketplace.”
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