The fight for a second coronavirus relief bill appeared to take a step forward on Sunday, but don't count on a second stimulus check just yet.
Lawmakers have been trying to pass a second coronavirus relief bill that would include additional aid for states, extended unemployment benefits and a second stimulus check for taxpayers who make under $75,000 before the upcoming election for several months now, however, the fight over the size and who would get the money have made passing the bill a tough proposition for both sides. With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the upcoming fight over the nomination for her replacement, the proposition of passing any other legislation is highly unlikely.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried to strike a positive tone about negotiations on CNN's State of Union Sunday saying that she believes Congress has "a chance to get something done."
“When I have a conversation with the administration it is in good faith,” Pelosi said Sunday. “I trust Secretary Mnuchin to represent something that can reach a solution and I believe we can come to an agreement.”
House Democrats and Senate Republicans have been at odds over the size and programs that would be included in any second stimulus bill. In May, the House passed the HEROES Act, a $3.5 trillion stimulus that included extended unemployment payments, aid for states and hospitals, as well as a second $1,200 stimulus check for most taxpayers in the U.S. In response Senate Republicans proposed their own 'skinny' coronavirus relief bill in late August, which did not include a check. That bill failed to pass the Senate after Republicans complained about the cost and even need for further relief at this point in the pandemic.
Pelosi managed to get Democrats together on a new $2.4 trillion relief package, about $1 trillion cheaper than the previous version last week, and the Speaker said she doesn't believe Democrats should be the only ones who should compromise.
“I’m hoping for a deal. I’d rather have a deal which puts money into people’s pockets,” she said. Pelosi cautioned that without funding for state and local governments, first responders will start losing their jobs and go on unemployment.
“Is that smart? I don’t think so," said Pelosi.
Earlier this month, a group of 50 lawmakers calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus came to the table with a compromise $1.5 trillion bill, but that proposal also stalled amid the logjam between the two parties.
The biggest obstacle now in passing another coronavirus relief bill is President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court. On Saturday, Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both stated their intention to get Barrett's nomination confirmed before the election on Nov. 3. That means the nomination fight will likely take up all the oxygen on Capitol Hill for the foreseeable future, leaving little incentive for both parties to come to the table and make a deal on a second coronavirus relief bill.
Photo: Getty Images