The weeks-long deadlock on Capitol Hill might soon come to an end. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have agreed to restart formal talks to strike a deal on a, which is expected to deliver a to millions of Americans.
“I’ve probably spoken to Speaker Pelosi 15 or 20 times in the last few days … and we’ve agreed to continue to have discussions about the CARES Act,” Mnuchin said Thursday.
Pelosi has reportedly tasked her committee heads to draft new legislation for a narrower bill than the The Washington Post and The Hill. The new House bill could reportedly be ready for a vote by Oct. 2, the Hill reported, citing Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee., according to
The deadline will still be tight asis already starting in many states to decide the . And given the previous bipartisan sticking points, how much time is there to agree on a new bill? Given this new information, we’ve pulled some dates and identified at least five possible scenarios that could yet play out for the next stimulus package. Here are the six . This story is updated often.
The last date a bill could pass before Nov. 3? Some options
The Senate is scheduled to break until after the election following its current session, which ends on Oct. 9. If nothing changes, that’s the last day a bill has to clear the Senate — 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 the bill passes the Senate on or by Oct. 9, the House could pass it after that date. And if negotiators close in on a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could also compel the Senate to stay in session longer or come back early to vote on a proposal.
Still, it’s less likely a bill could pass days before the election as the presidential candidates — President Donald Trump, who must sign the bill into law, and former Vice President Joe Biden — complete their campaigns.
Possible timelines for when a stimulus bill could pass
|Senate votes||House votes||President signs|
|Oct. 2||Oct. 3||Oct. 4|
|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 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.)
Congress could pass even smaller standalone bills instead
If the Senate rejects the House’s smaller bill, some in Washington say the way to break the stalemate is to pass a series of even narrower 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.
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 Americans, wary of in-person voting during a pandemic, will likely be .
The president could still take executive action
After talks originally collapsed on Aug. 7, Trump signedon Aug. 8. It’s possible more executive actions would be forthcoming if this final attempt at negotiations fails before the election.
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.
Negotiators could postpone the stimulus package until after the election
With the Nov. 3 election less than two months away, the atmosphere in Washington may 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 a vote in November, any change in majority to the House or Senate, and to the presidency, shifts 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. If a deal isn’t reached soon, the topic of a relief package is likely to come up during town halls and debates between Trump and Biden in the coming weeks.
If talks fail, lawmakers 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.