The Senate will vote Thursday on a new “skinny” coronavirus package that Republicans are pushing to pass in lieu of, or perhaps in addition to, that includes more funding for coronavirus relief programs — and a .
There’s doubt the narrower bill, which does not include another, but which does contain a provision for , will pass the Senate and it’s roundly expected the House of Representatives will block it if it does. Yet it could potentially spur negotiations on a larger check to resume.
The two sides are inching closer to agreement, but are still a long way off, with the White House hinting it could go up to $1.5 trillion while the Democrats have also come down from their initial $3 trillion proposal to $2.2 trillion.
“I’m more optimistic today than I have been in a long time,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday about the prospects of a new stimulus bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday he believes there’s a “good chance” a bipartisan COVID relief bill will pass, Reuters reported.
With theabout two months away, both sides are under increasing pressure to produce more aid. Here are five scenarios that could happen with the stimulus package in the coming days and weeks.
A series of small bills could pass
Called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (PDF), the Senate’s narrower proposal isn’t expected to make it into law. But it does suggest a path forward that delivers coronavirus aid in chunks, possibly sidestepping the partisan flare-ups that have plagued this new stimulus legislation, which has dragged on for over a month.
The House itself presented one of the first of these piecemeal bills seeking to provideahead of an where many will likely be .
“Let’s do a more targeted bill now,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sept. 6. “If we need to do more in 30 days, we’ll continue to do more.”
Skinny bill could fail and a single large relief bill might pass
Formal talks for the overarching bill have yet to restart, but the Senate has returned from recess this week and the House of Representatives gets back to work next week, afterduring the break. The total cost of the bill is the root disagreement.
As the Nov. 3 elections near, the leadership’s coronavirus response is expected to take center stage during campaigning at all levels, increasing the political pressure to pass the next wave of aid.
Here, we present a speculative timeline of dates for when we could see a relief bill passed if talks do resume. It draws from Congressional voting schedules and the potential of postponing a planned recess or the House returning early to pass a bill.
When could the stimulus bill pass?
|Senate votes||House votes||President signs|
|Possible timeline if legislation passes in September||Sept. 22||Sept. 23||Sept. 24|
|Sept. 30||Oct. 1||Oct. 2|
|Oct. 6||Oct. 7||Oct. 8|
|Oct. 20||Oct. 21||Oct. 22|
Executive orders could be issued instead of, or in addition to, a bill
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 last week,Trump said the administration might consider another executive action to release $300 billion in stimulus aid in an unused account for Americans, if Congress doesn’t vote to redirect those funds.
Trump’s current COVID-19 relief executive actions address , extending to a lesser degree and until next year.
Relief might go on hold until after the election
With the Nov. 3 election 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 no additional action is taken
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.