The deadline for Republican and Democratic negotiators to find common ground onis fast approaching, if they want to get a into voters’ hands before they in the . But just how much time do they have? We’ve mapped out possible dates a bill could pass in a chart below.
The House of Representatives plans to extend its session until a deal is reached. “We have to stay here until we have a bill,” the Washington Post reported Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling House Democrats this week. Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Wednesday reminded Congress that there are still about 11 million people out of work because of the .
Though the next steps are unknown, we’ve identified at least five possible scenarios that could yet play out and the last chance for a bill to pass ahead of the US election. Here are the six. This story is updated often.
The current cutoff date to pass a stimulus bill by Nov. 3
The Senate is scheduled to break till after the election following its current session, which ends on Oct. 9 — but that doesn’t mean it’s the final day a bill could pass.
The House, for example, is prepared to postpone the start of its next break, originally scheduled for Oct. 2, until a deal is reached. If negotiators close in on a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could compel the Senate to stay in session, or to come back early to vote on a proposal.
Possible timelines for when a stimulus bill could pass
|Senate votes||House votes||President signs|
|Sept. 30||Oct. 1||Oct.2|
|Oct. 9||Oct. 12||Oct. 13|
|Oct. 16||Oct. 19||Oct. 20|
|Oct. 23||Oct. 26||Oct. 27|
The dates above are based on Congressional voting schedules and the potential of both chambers delaying their planned recess. Based on remarks from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the IRS could potentiallyif a new bill is passed by the third week of October. (Here’s .)
After breaking down in August, formal talks for the overarching bill have yet to restart. The total cost of the bill and how the money would be used are at the heart of the disagreement. The White House has hinted it could go up to $1.5 trillion, while the Democrats have come down from their initial $3 trillion proposal to $2.2 trillion, so there has been incremental progress. (The failed Republican skinny bill was estimated at between $300 billion and $650 billion.)
Alternatively, Congress could pass focused, smaller bills
Instead of working on one comprehensive bill, some in Washington say the way to break the stalemate is to pass a series of smaller bills that target specific areas. There is growing support among House Democrats for passing a smaller bill now and then continuing to work out other issues, Politico reported.
Pelosi has steadfastly opposed smaller deals and remains intent on passing a comprehensive bill.
The Senate made one attempt with its Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act, but it didn’t have enough votes to proceed. The House also presented a piecemeal bill seeking to provide ahead of an in which many will likely be .
The president may decide to take executive action
After talks originally collapsed on Aug. 7, President Donald Trump took unilateral action by signingon Aug. 8. It’s possible more executive actions are coming.
During a news conference on Sept. 4 Trump said the administration might consider another executive action to release $300 billion in unused stimulus aid for Americans, if Congress doesn’t vote to redirect those funds. There’s been no development since, however.
Trump’s current COVID-19 relief executive actions address , extending to a lesser degree and until next year.
Congress could postpone a relief decision till after the election
With the Nov. 3 election less than two months away, the atmosphere in Washington could be too politically charged to pass more economic relief bills, and leaders may want to see what happens after the election.
With 470 seats in the US Congress — 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats — up for election in November, any change in majority to the House or Senate, and to the presidency itself, could shift the likelihood of certain laws being passed one way or another.
The government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is already playing heavily in the campaign at all levels. If a deal isn’t reached soon, the topic of a relief package could very well come up during town halls or debates held in the coming weeks.
If talks fail, Washington could take no additional action
We think this outcome is less likely, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Unemployment remains at staggeringly high levels and a on the horizon. If no action is taken on a relief package, individual bills or executive orders, it could potentially cause the economy to plunge into , as economists say the damage already done is beginning to mirror the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
For more information, here’sand what to know about the stimulus bill proposals that could help inform a final package.