Stimulus Check Deal Could Be Days Away

It's been over half a year since Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which means six months have gone by since Americans hit hard financially by the pandemic have received a stimulus check. While the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, the Senate didn't consider it because of it's $3 trillion price tag. Since then, Democrats and Republicans have been going back and forth on what the next relief package should contain, but they have not been able to agree on anything. However, last week there was some movement and now, officials think the outline of a deal could be agreed upon by the middle of this week.

The news comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi works with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. First, the House cut down the HEROES Act so it only cost $2.2 trillion, then Mnuchin countered with a package worth $1.5 trillion that includes a stimulus check, so the two sides are approaching each other. On Face The Nation on Sunday, Pelosi revealed, "We're making progress. It just depends on if they understand what we have to do to crush the virus."

While there seems to be some movement, there is also a long way to go. The two sides disagree on some big issues including the weekly bonus to unemployment benefits, federal aid for state and local governments, and expanding eligibility for tax credits to the Affordable Care Act for people on unemployment.

However, even with the divide, the President, who currently has COVID-19, is pushing for an act to pass, tweeting from his hospital room, "Our great USA wants & needs stimulus. Work together and get it done. Thank you!" In fact, Pelosi thinks Trump's diagnosis might help him and others look at the relief package in a new light, saying, "Maybe this will be the moment where people will say, 'Okay, masks, sanitation, treatment.' It might be a learning experience."

The next problem is that because of the outbreak of coronavirus in Trump's circle, which has now hit three senators, as a precaution, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suspended the chamber until October 19th. That makes things a little difficult because the Senate would have to approve a bill for it to become a law. However, if an act is agreed on, McConnell would recall senators to vote on it, giving them 24 hours to return to Washington to do so.

As it stands, the earliest a stimulus bill could likely become a law would be October 20th. That would mean that a proposal is agreed and plotted out in the next few days, then the House approves it on October 16, the Senate approves it on October 19th, and the President signs it on the 20th, with stimulus checks going out a week later. However, with each day, it seems less and less likely that a stimulus package will pass before Election Day.

Photo: Getty Images

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