THE final nail in the stimulus package coffin may have been hammered as Congress takes vacation without approving a relief bill – which means the next wave of checks may not arrive until December.
The plan of having a stimulus bill ready before the election hit rock-bottom on Tuesday after Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate after it voted to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby of Alabama told The Washington Post, “We’ll come back in November. The question might be, will there be something then?”
Stimulus negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appear to be deadlocked with no agreement in sight just a week before the election.
Both sides are negotiating a $2trillion package that includes $1,200 stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, small business aid, state and local funding.
“The lame-duck agenda depends largely on the outcome of the election,” Ron Wyden, top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, told Bloomberg Tax.
“If my choice wins – Vice President Biden – it’s hard to see Mitch McConnell supporting another penny of stimulus.”
The next deadline Congress faces to approve another spending bill is December 11 – in order to prevent a government shutdown, which can be a window for lawmakers to pass another stimulus package.
President Donald Trump's unpredictability regarding another stimulus bill has been well-documented over the past month.
The president urged his staff to cutting off negotiations, then reversed his decision and continued talks while pressing for more money than Democrats.
At his Pennsylvania rally on Tuesday, Trump claimed Pelosi was "withholding" coronavirus relief and said, "After the election we'll pass the best stimulus package you've ever seen."
As Trump supporters chanted from the audience, "Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!"
Last week, Mitch McConnell told Senate Republicans that he has warned President Donald Trump to not strike a deal with Pelosi before the election on a relief bill.
Despite McConnell’s warning the House Speaker said she’ll continue to work with the White House and McConnell, even if the Democrats win the election, because “people need help right away.”
The White House had initially proposed a $1.8trillion package, but House Speaker Pelosi rejected the bill saying it "wasn't passable."
“It wasn’t passable, it didn’t crush the virus, it didn’t do any of the things it was supposed to do,” Pelosi said last week.
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