Stimulus package talks could resume this week: Here’s what’s happening today – CNET

 breaking-the-piggy-bank-stimulus-check-cash-money-savings-debt-personal-finance-032

The Aug. 7 deadline for the next stimulus bill has passed, but that doesn’t mean talks are over yet.


Sarah Tew/CNET

On Saturday, President Donald Trump issued four unilateral executive actions that bypass a coronavirus relief package slated to include provisions like a second stimulus check, the renewal of enhanced unemployment benefits and extended moratorium on evictions. The signing came less than 24 hours after the Senate’s deadline to reach a deal over another stimulus package lapsed. So what does that mean for the stimulus bill — are negotiations over and done with?

Not necessarily. In a joint statement on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer encouraged talks over the stimulus package to resume. 

“Democrats repeat our call to Republicans to return to the table, meet us halfway and work together to deliver immediate relief to the American people,” the statement says. “Lives are being lost, and time is of the essence.”

So what now? Here’s what we know today. This story updates often as the news develops. 

Scenario 1: A stimulus bill agreement happens next week

As of last week, the House of Representatives and White House negotiators tackling the details of the stimulus proposal have signaled a willingness to continue talks — as long as both sides budge. (More below for what the sticking points are.)

“We are ready to meet the White House and Republicans halfway,” Democratic Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Sunday. “We’ve said that from the start.”

It’s possible talks could still resume next week. If so, the legislation could presumably go to a vote in one chamber as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. Both chambers must vote before the legislation lands on Trump’s desk for his signature. If it follows the timeline for the CARES Act, which was passed in March and has since lapsed, a new bill could become law within three days after the Senate votes.

When could the stimulus bill pass?

House votes Senate votes President signs
Timeline no. 1: Legislation passes next week Aug. 11 Aug. 12 Aug. 13
Aug. 12 Aug. 13 Aug. 14
Aug. 13 Aug. 14 Aug. 17
Aug. 14 Aug. 17 Aug. 18

Scenario 2: Trump’s executive orders don’t stick

Following the advice of his advisors, Trump signed one executive order and three memoranda to spur action on eviction relief, extending the enhanced federal unemployment benefits, providing student loan relief and creating a payroll tax cut. The latter has been an agenda item favored by Trump for the stimulus bill, but was dropped by the Senate and his negotiators. 

The executive orders have bypassed the negotiations currently taking place between the Democratic-led House and the administration, but detractors have cast doubt whether the actions will effectively help people. There are also questions as to Trump’s ability to legally make certain decisions that constitutionally require an act of Congress

“This is an unworkable plan,” Schumer said Sunday during an interview on ABC News. “Most states will take months to implement it, because it’s brand new. It’s sort of put together with spit and paste. And many states, because they have to chip in $100 [per person for the unemployment benefit], and they don’t have money, won’t do it.”

If the order and memoranda are tied up in court, that could pave the way for renewed talks by both parties.

It’s also possible that if a deal is reached in the coming weeks, the executive orders could be found null and void. 

Scenario 3: Talks stop, no completion of the executive order

Another option, which could devastate millions of Americans, is that there is no deal at all. This could happen if both sides refuse to return to the table and compromise on the main sticking points in the bill and if Trump’s executive actions don’t progress. The bill could also die if, after a deal is reached, the Republican-led Senate votes it down after a Democratic-led House vote. 

pennies-on-the-dollar-small-change-stimulus-check-cash-money-004pennies-on-the-dollar-small-change-stimulus-check-cash-money-004

The end of all talks will be devastating to millions of Americans.


Sarah Tew/CNET

What’s been holding up the stimulus deal?

The Senate, House of Representatives and White House all agree a second stimulus check that will send payments directly to Americans is essential to help turn the current recession around. The problem is that Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on how much help is needed. 

Pelosi said that Democrats have attempted compromise, but haven’t been met in the middle by Republicans.

“I offered to them, we’ll take down a trillion if you add a trillion in,” Pelosi said late Friday. “They said, ‘Absolutely not.'”  

Schumer echoed Pelosi’s sentiments for compromise on the bill. “Meet us in the middle — for God’s sake, please — for the sake of America, meet us in the middle,” he told Republicans on Friday. 

At issue is the cost of the overall stimulus package. The Senate’s HEALS Act would cost $1 trillion, while the House Democrats stipulated $3 trillion total in its Heroes Act proposal from May. (The CARES Act, which delivered $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans earlier this year, was worth $2.2 trillion.)

poor-small-change-pennies-on-the-dollar-money-cash-stimulus-payments-personal-finance-014poor-small-change-pennies-on-the-dollar-money-cash-stimulus-payments-personal-finance-014

Democrats and Republicans have been disagreeing on how much relief aid should be included in the stimulus package. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

What else could delay the stimulus package?

After the House votes, the Senate might disagree with certain parts of the bill. If that happens, the Senate can send the bill back to the House with changes and ask Pelosi and the House to agree with those changes. If either the House and the Senate disagree with some portion of a bill, they can call for further negotiations to get to a final version. 

Once the Senate secures a full vote and passes the bill, the legislation moves to Trump’s desk. In the typical lawmaking process, the president has 10 days to sign or veto the bill. It’s unlikely Trump will wait to sign the bill once it reaches him, since he signed the CARES Act about a day after the Senate passed it. 

There could also be further delays if Trump moves to repurpose unspent federal dollars for unemployment and it’s challenged legally.

For more information, we’ve looked at how soon you might get your second stimulus check and compared the HEALS, CARES and Heroes stimulus proposals.