The Senate is back in session this week and is restarting talks around, with the goal of passing a bill by the end of 2020, before of .
“Our work is not finished,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday. “The Senate’s going to have a busy few weeks.”
Top politicians and economists see stimulus measures as a crucial way to stop the spread of the coronavirus, through injecting money into the economy by way of a , and funding programs like vaccine development and distribution. The few remaining COVID-19 Dec. 31.
“While we prepare for the new Biden administration, we must also move swiftly for a new coronavirus relief bill,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Nov. 6, before the election was called in Biden’s favor. “We want the Republicans to come back to the table.”
While both political parties agree on the need for a new relief bill,. And while — which includes a for — it’ll be President Donald Trump who would sign a successful package if Congress is able to set aside deep partisan divisions and strike a deal by the end of the year.
A new stimulus battle is primed to begin
Already, a fresh conflict awaits over the shape of stimulus aid. On one side is McConnell, who on Nov. 9 said Congress should pass a smaller, more limited stimulus bill before the end of the year, given lowering unemployment rates and the encouraging news on a COVID-19 vaccine, Bloomberg reports. On the other is Pelosi, who helped through the House of Representatives last month, and who has rejected the idea of a narrow stimulus package.
Pelosi has rejected the idea of a narrow stimulus package, which McConnell has supported in recent months. “That isn’t anything that we should even be looking at,” she said during a Nov. 6 morning press conference.
The fates of a, for millions of Americans and aid for are unknown as well. Though McConnell has favored in the past, his recent efforts have been to try to pass narrow pieces of legislation that come in at a fraction of the cost of and don’t include .
The fundamental differences in the size and scope of proposed stimulus aid make a clash almost inevitable, and it isn’t clear what role — if any — Trump would play in shaping a bill designed to come to a vote before the presidential inauguration.
“We’ll have a stronger recovery if we can just get at least some more fiscal support,” Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Nov. 5 (PDF). “When it’s appropriate and at the size Congress thinks is appropriate,” he added.
With Republicans gaining seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate potentially split 50-50 between the two parties, some analysts have suggested that Pelosi may have trouble pushing through objectives, regardless of who the president is. Without full control of Congress, Pelosi may lose leverage, some predict.
There’s additional pressure, too. A new bill of some sort will need to be passed to avoid a US government shutdown on Dec. 11. It’s possible that stimulus funding of some sort will make it into that bill.
Before the election, Trump made his position clear. “We will have a tremendous stimulus package immediately after the election,” he said on Oct. 30. But Trump seemingly based his commitment on the condition of him winning and the House of Representatives and Senate solidifying Republican majorities.
What could happen between now and Biden’s inauguration?
Here are some possible scenarios that could play out over the coming weeks.
A stimulus bill is completed before Jan. 20: An agreement is made and the current House and Senate vote. If Trump signs it into law,, with certain groups receiving financial help before the end of 2020.
A stimulus deal is finalized and fails in either the Senate or House: In this situation, the Democrats and Republicans could advance their own proposals that might pass in their majority chambers, but fail (or fail to be considered) by the other. In this case, Congress might try again after Biden is sworn in as president.
Some funding could be included in a bill that also funds the government past Dec 11: It’s possible that one piece of funding, for example a stimulus check, unemployment aid or an avoid a shutdown. As sitting president, Trump would need to sign the bill into law for it to take effect., could make it into a bill to keep the government funded past Dec. 11 and
Talks once again fall apart until after Jan. 20: If partisan differences keep a bill from forming or passing, it’s likely they’ll restart in some capacity after the inauguration in January.
To help visualize when a bill could pass, we’ve come up with five possible dates, both before and after the November election. If a bill does pass that includes a direct payment, here’s.
When could a stimulus bill or package pass?
|House votes||Senate votes||President signs|
|Nov. 23||Nov. 24||Nov. 25|
|Dec. 11||Dec. 12||Dec. 13|
|Feb. 1, 2021 (after inauguration)||Feb. 2, 2021||Feb. 3, 2021|
|Feb. 16 (Feb. 15 is President’s Day)||Feb. 16||Feb. 17|
Why last month’s $2.2 trillion stimulus package still matters
On Oct. 1, the House of Representatives passedthat included a and such as for tens of millions of Americans. The new House bill, endorsed primarily by Democrats, was not expected to advance through the Republican-controlled Senate, and indeed has not.
It provides the framework Pelosi is working from, however, and could figure into future negotiations, depending on election results that could potentially shift the balance one way or another.
The vote was thought to provide cover for House Democrats as they campaign without a new relief bill, much as the Senate did earlier in September for Republican members with its $650 billion skinny bill.
What Republicans and Democrats both agree on
Proposals from both sides have included another for individuals , among topics like aid for airlines, and extending the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses.
Although the Senate’s targeted bills, which did not advance, did not include stimulus checks, Republicans (including those in the Senate) have supported them.
Here are more details on thebetween the White House Republicans and the Democrats.
For more information about stimulus checks, here’sand what to know about the stimulus bill proposals that could help inform a final package.