Just Two Obstacles Stand in the Way of a Second Stimulus Check
Americans have been watching Washington eagerly for news of more coronavirus relief. Unfortunately, the negotiation process has not gone smoothly. Now, however, there's some good news for those waiting for more COVID-19 relief. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered strong words of optimism on Thursday.
Speaker Pelosi is negotiating on behalf of the Democrats with key members of the Trump Administration. After a call with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Pelosi indicated the two dueling sides are "just about there," on a stimulus deal, and are "closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation."
However, Pelosi did indicate that two big sticking points remain. These are hopefully the last two hurdles standing in the way of a second stimulus check, more aid for the unemployed, and other financial relief that Americans and the economy so desperately need.
These are the two big points of disagreement
According to Speaker Pelosi, the two main issues in contention relate to:
- Funding for state and local governments
- Liability protections for businesses
Republicans have insisted they want to provide strong protections for companies to shield them from lawsuits related to coronavirus exposure. This has been a key priority for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and has made its way into several failed GOP proposals for COVID relief.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have been pressing for substantial financial relief for states facing huge coronavirus expenses while mounting unemployment has slashed the amount of revenue they can collect. The latest proposal from the White House offered $300 billion in funding for state and local governments. But the Democrats believe states need broader relief, and their most recent bill included $436 billion in aid.
The White House has been very firm in opposing more financial relief for states, with President Trump and other key administration members referring to this aid as a "bailout." In fact, President Trump himself tweeted out his skepticism regarding the possibility of a stimulus deal on Oct. 21, writing: "Just don’t see any way Nancy Pelosi and Cryin’ Chuck Schumer will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on Stimulus. Their primary focus is BAILING OUT poorly run (and high crime) Democrat cities and states...."
The administration has, however, given substantial ground on this issue. Their recent offer of $300 billion reflected a $50 billion increase from their prior proposals.
With just two major sources of conflict standing in the way of a deal, hopefully lawmakers can overcome these issues and pass a compromise bill. If Speaker Pelosi can deliver enough votes in the House to pass the legislation and the president backs the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he will bring it up for a vote in the Senate. And despite objections of some Repulican senators to passing large-scale relief with a high price tag, a compromise bill could very well pass with a bipartisan majority -- especially with pressure from President Trump.
There's still hope for more economic relief
If a compromise bill does pass, it will most likely include aid for the unemployed and a second stimulus check, because lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are on board with these measures. And it's good news that they are, because it means Americans could soon see money in their bank accounts from Washington that they've been waiting months to receive.
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