The House of Representatives has introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, with Democrats indicating that the move is necessary in order to hold the president accountable for his alleged role of inciting a violent riot in the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
With the president's term set to end on Jan. 20, the U.S. Senate will most likely be unable to take up impeachment until after President-elect Biden has been inaugurated. Since impeachment hearings must take priority, the House's likely impeachment of the current president has led to concerns that the proceedings could imperil Biden's ability to move his agenda quickly through Congress.
With the incoming president and Congress both making clear that their first priority is another coronavirus stimulus bill, this could potentially mean a delay in getting much-needed funds into American's bank accounts. However, those hoping for more COVID-19 relief got some good news recently, as both the president-elect and incoming Senate majority leader have made clear that they do not intend to allow the impeachment efforts to slow down progress.
A third stimulus payment is still a top priority
Biden is set to unveil his stimulus plans as early as this Thursday, and the proposal he puts forth will include another stimulus check -- this time, valued at $2,000 for eligible Americans.
Anticipating that impeachment proceedings would be moving quickly and could affect their timeline for action, Senator Chuck Schumer told The Buffalo News on Sunday that "We'd like to do it in the first few months," with "it" referring to passing both Biden's stimulus plan as well as an infrastructure package that could help jumpstart the economy.
Schumer will become Majority Leader since the Democrats will be in control of the Senate. That means he will largely have control of setting the agenda for the upper chamber of Congress, although he must act within established rules. In response to concerns that the focus on impeachment could slow down their efforts to pass coronavirus relief, he said "We're going to have to do several things at once but we got to move the agenda as well. Yes, we've got to do both."
Following Schumer's comments on Sunday, Biden spoke with the Senate parliamentarian about whether it would be possible to "go a half day with the impeachment and a half day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate as well as moving on the [coronavirus stimulus] package."
Although he has not yet received an answer to his query, it's clear that both the president-elect and majority leader are exploring all options to deliver stimulus funds to Americans as soon as possible after campaigning on the issue. "My priority is to get, first and foremost, a stimulus bill passed and secondly, again to rebuild the economy," Biden said.
Of course, there are still obstacles. These include opposition to a large-scale bill from conservative Democratic senators, as well as what is likely to be unified opposition from Republicans. But, if Biden is able to get his party on board and the Democrats use a procedure called "reconciliation" to make Republican filibuster impossible, you may still see additional stimulus funds hitting your bank account in the coming months.
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