Forget about receiving a second coronavirus stimulus check (or a COVID-19 vaccine, for that matter) before Election Day. Negotiation of the HEROES Act has just hit another deadlock on Capitol Hill, and the White House, House Democrats and Senate Republicans remain far apart on the package’s size and how the money should be spent.
On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the chances of Democrats and Republicans agreeing on a second coronavirus stimulus package before November 3rd are slim.
Democrat and GOP lawmakers have come a long way to narrow down a giant gulf between what they think is needed to stimulate economy.
House Democrats originally wanted $3 trillion for the HEROES Act (Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act). The plan was dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate in summer, with Republicans proposing a package no larger than $1 trillion.
Both sides have made concessions since then. Earlier this month, House Democrats proposed a revised HEROES Act that would include $2.2 trillion in total aid, including popular items in the CARES Act passed in March, such as a $1,200 cash subsidy for most American families and an extra $600 in weekly benefits for the jobless.
The White House then countered with a $1.8 trillion offer, which includes reduced unemployment benefits, forgivable loans for certain industries and individual checks. Yet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the White House’s offer falls significantly short of what is needed.
Last Tuesday, President Donald Trump abruptly called off stimulus negotiations on Twitter, urging Congress to focus on approving his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But as all sides in the stimulus talks work to avoid taking the blame for a no-deal before Election Day, President Trump on Tuesday urged lawmakers to “go big or go home” on a stimulus deal and cut short on Barrett’s nomination hearings.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on a $500 billion limited stimulus package next week targeting relief for American workers and small businesses.
It’s almost certain that House Democrats will block the bill. Senate Democrats voted against such a package last month, making Republicans unable to take the bill further to the House of Representatives.