Although December 25 may seem far off, Americans have been waiting since March for another stimulus check and months of talks between negotiators House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have not produced a compromise.
With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell showing renewed interest in a stimulus package and promising that it would be the top priority in Congress‘ next session, some are hopeful that agreement on a package could come just in time for the holiday spirit.
Under the rules of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, two-parent families with three children could receive $6,000, $1,200 for each adult individual and dependent.
Here’s what the timeline could look like, depending on when Congress acts.
Analysts Have Been Pessimistic About Checks Coming in December
CNN Business reported that a stimulus package is not likely to happen, citing several experts including a Buckingham Wealth Partners executive Kevin Grogan, who said, “I’m skeptical that anything can get done in a lame-duck session.”
Bill Hoagland, a senior executive at the Bipartisan Policy Center, agreed, telling CNBC that the chances an agreement containing stimulus payments would happen in December are very low. “I would look to where things stand first quarter of next year as to whether or not there will be another round of stimulus checks. I don’t sense it right now in the December timeframe,” he said.
CNET reported that it still may be possible, though. If the House were to vote on a package on November 23 and the Senate passed it on November 24, President Donald Trump could theoretically sign another stimulus package on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday. If the House were to vote on a package on December 11 and the Senate passed it on December 12, CNET projected that Trump would likely sign it on December 13.
Brian Gardner, a Washington policy strategist at investment banking company Stifel, told CNN Business that he believes any stimulus package passed after the election would likely be smaller, but that some of the more popular elements — such as stimulus checks and supplemental unemployment — could make a comeback. “I do think you could see continued direct payments,” Gardner said. “You may see some enhanced unemployment, just at a lower level.”
A Possible Government Shutdown Date Could Affect Things
Ed Mills, a Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, told CNBC that although a deal did not take place before Election Day, “The next best chance is … leading up to the Dec. 11 date for government funding.”
Government shutdowns occur when the federal budget for the next fiscal year fails to be approved by a set date and all nonessential government functions are halted. Before the deadline for the previous shutdown expired, it was pushed to December 11, as Reuters reported.
Government shutdowns are always a time of negotiation in a divided house of Congress, and with a Democrat-led House of Representatives and Republican Senate, analysts like Mills have suggested the air of compromise around that time could lend itself to an agreement on a stimulus package.
McConnell, who said he didn’t want Republicans to work on a stimulus package before the election, according to The New York Times, changed his position. He recently stated after retaining his Kentucky Senate seat, “We need another rescue package. The Senate goes back in session next Monday. … I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year. I think that’s job one when we get back,” according to The Hill.
The Hill also reported McConnell’s comments on the impending government shutdown. “The Speaker and I agree that we ought to do an omnibus appropriations bill and do it in December, no matter who wins the election. It’s a basic function of government that we haven’t handled very well in recent years,” he said.