For Americans still struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, hopes continue to wane that direct relief in the form of a check from the IRS is coming anytime soon.
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader, blasted a so-called “skinny” stimulus bill that Senate Republicans are possibly preparing to unveil next week, a move that underscores just how far apart the two sides remain on a package.
In a letter to colleagues, Schumer called leaked details of the GOP plan “emaciated,” citing reports that the proposal would include “no money for rental assistance, no money for nutrition assistance, and no money for state and local services, the census, or safe elections.”
According to The Hill, which cited two aides familiar with the proposal, it would likely also not include $1,200 stimulus checks like the kind that were part of the CARES Act in March.
The details of the proposal have not been made public, but Schumer called it the “wrong direction” and accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of planning “another round of partisan games.”
While polarization has intensified in the lead-up to the November election, Americans continue to broadly support direct payments as a form of coronavirus relief. A new poll from Gallup this week shows 7 in 10 would be in favor of the government sending a second round of stimulus checks to qualified individuals.
House Democrats passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, and Senate Republicans followed up with the $1 trillion HEALS Act in late July. But there have been few heroes and very little healing on Capitol Hill since.
Congressional lawmakers are set to return to work next week (or at least what passes for work in Congress), but their willingness to meet somewhere in the middle on the next relief package is in doubt. With the election just eight weeks away, compromises and good-faith negotiations are likely to be in short supply.