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Second stimulus check: Democrats and Republicans look to strike deal on payment

Both parties have very different perspectives on what a stimulus bill should look like, however Democrats and Republicans agree on the need for a second round of stimulus checks.

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks regarding the Supreme Court at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 20, 2020.  REUTERS/Mark Makela

Formal talks for the overarching bill have yet to restart. The total cost of the bill and how the money would be used are the main causes of the disagreement. The White House could go up to $1.5 trillion. The Democrats have reduced their original $3 trillion proposal to $2.2 trillion, meaning that there has been progress made to come to an agreement.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi believes that a bill can still be pushed through by the end of September: "I'm optimistic. I do think that we should have an agreement. That's what we all want." Speaking to reporters about the day her Democratic party passed their HEROES Act bill in the House, Pelosi said: “The needs have only grown since May 15, four months ago, referring to the day Democrats passed their own sprawling $3.4 trillion package. “The needs for the small businesses, for the restaurants, for transportation and the rest.” She was also quick to knock back a question about 'moderate' Democrats pressing for a narrower relief package, saying to reporters: “they don’t say it to me.”

Biden wants to help most-hard pressed working families

On Joe Biden's (Democratic Presidential Candidate) website it stated his new plan to allow families with children to receive a monthly federal payment of between $250 to $300 during the pandemic. 'Biden's CTC expansion will provide thousands of dollars of tax relief for middle-class households," Biden's website announced. "It will also help the most-hard pressed working families avoid poverty and attain greater economic security."

The Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that he believes there is a good chance Congress will pass a coronavirus relief bill and predicted Republicans will feel pressure to provide help for Americans. "Yes. There's a good chance that they will feel the pressure, once they see the Democrats are not going to fold to this emaciated bill which leaves so much out," Schumer said.

Trump could sign on the bill in October

If the Senate passes the bill at the end of September, the House will have until October 1 to agree on it and President Donald Trump will sign it as early as October 2. According to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin the IRS will be in a position to start sending the second round of payments on the week of October 12.

Trump knows that a second stimulus check could help boost his re-election prospects. Republicans and Democrats previously agreed in principle on $1,200 second stimulus checks for individuals and $2,400 for married/joint filers.

Regarding the second payment, Trump admitted he was keen on a "larger amount". "I like the larger amount, I’ve said that. Some of the Republicans disagree, but I think I can convince them to go along with that because I like the larger number. I want to see people get money. Something like that... We’re getting closer.”

Speaking to Fox News Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff, encouraged the media to take their cameras to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday: “You’re going to see members of Congress leaving Washington, D.C. to go home and pretend like they’re working hard on this particular deal when, in fact, the checks are not going out to the American people and unemployment benefits will start to cease. He went on to further explain that he had been “on the phone with some Democrat House members… as well as a few senators” and on a positive note that he can see that there are “Republican senators and House members that are trying to come together.”

Mitch McConnell (Majority Leader) said: "Republican Senators, like working families across the country, had hoped the Senate would be spending this week completing more bipartisan pandemic relief," McConnell said in the Senate. "Since Democrats are stonewalling pandemic relief, the Senate is using our time to confirm more well-qualified judicial nominees to lifetime positions on the federal bench."

Both sides interested in striking deal

Although there is still no guarantee that there will be a stimulus deal, both parties appear interested in striking a deal. Many Congress members will spend the month of October campaigning for re-election, meaning a deal may not be finalised before November. That said, if a deal is to get done, the end of September or early October would likely be the last chance before the election on November 3. If second stimulus checks are included in a deal, Republicans and Democrats would likely need to come to an agreement in the $1.5 trillion to $2.0 trillion range.

With congressional elections on November 3, both chambers have very few days left to finish work as lawmakers plan to campaign in their home states for much of October. The federal fiscal year ends on September 30, so they will have to hurry to reach a deal on legislation funding government programs and averting a partial shutdown that could be especially damaging to lawmakers facing re-election in November.

Senator Mike Braun, said: “I think that, my personal opinion, not much is going to happen between now and the election.”

“Quite simply, it'll be a stain on this institution, on 1600 Pennsylvania," Rep. Dean Phillips stated, after being asked about Congress potentially ending another week without significant progress being made. "We created a framework that is reasonable," continued one of those on the Problems Solvers group, "which is not easy to do in this culture or atmosphere." Senator Roy Blunt said: "We don’t have much time to get this done.”


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