Amid the intense stimulus relief aid discussion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a deadline for the White House to come to an agreement on the next stimulus package which provides a second round of stimulus checks for Americans. Meanwhile, the Senate is set to vote on a smaller stimulus bill without direct payments this week.
Deadline for Stimulus Negotiations
Stimulus packages to help Americans cope with the coronavirus-driven economic crisis have been heavily discussed this week as U.S. lawmakers hope to approve new relief aid before the November presidential election. Six proposed stimulus packages provide a second round of stimulus checks to Americans. The latest proposal from Democrats is the $2.2 trillion revised Heroes Act but the White House has made a counteroffer of a $1.8 trillion stimulus package. Both contain a second round of stimulus checks for Americans. Despite constant negotiations over the past weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have not been able to come to an agreement.
Pelosi then set a 48-hour deadline to reconcile differences after another round of stimulus discussions with Mnuchin on Saturday evening. She told ABC News on Sunday that the deadline applies to lawmakers’ ability to get a deal done before the Nov. 3 election. Pelosi said, “The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” adding:
We’re saying to them, we have to freeze the design on some of these things … I’m optimistic, because again we’ve been back and forth on all this.
Pelosi said that Democrats and the White House have reached an agreement on some subjects such as testing, but there’s still work to be done on the language of the legislation.
Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff at Pelosi’s office, tweeted: “There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours. Decisions must be made by the White House in order to demonstrate that the Administration is serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement that provides for Americans with the greatest needs during the pandemic.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that Pelosi is stalling negotiations. “I want stimulus money now but Nancy Pelosi won’t approve it because she is playing politics,” the official Twitter account for the Trump campaign tweeted Sunday.
In an interview which airs on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that Congress should go “big and smart” on the next coronavirus relief stimulus package. However, he disagrees with some of the components of the Heroes Act. “The $2.2 trillion coming out of the House has a mandate for ballot harvesting. What’s that got to do Covid?” he questioned. “And the $1,200 payment, which I support, doesn’t require a social security number to get it, so a lot of the money would go to illegal immigrants.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Saturday afternoon that the Senate will vote on a $500 billion GOP coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday. This bill focuses on a federal unemployment benefit and another round of small business assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and does not include a second round of stimulus checks for Americans.
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