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Stimulus package update: Pelosi and Mnuchin huddle, House readies vote on dead-end bill

Here’s to the theme song of 2020: Let’s Not Get Our Hopes Up.

Stimulus package update: Pelosi and Mnuchin huddle, House readies vote on dead-end bill
[Photo: rawpixel; Ocean Ng/Unsplash]

Where is Congress on the fabled stimulus? Still at the table, apparently. Here’s the latest update as of Thursday afternoon:

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What’s happening?

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met to try to cobble together a coronavirus-relief stimulus package that might stand a chance of passing both chambers of Congress before the November election.

There’s a long line of failed contestants for that. The fourth and most recent stimulus package, put forth by House Democrats on Monday, totals $2.2 trillion and includes another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, an extension of the $600 weekly jobless benefits, and $436 billion for state and local governments. In its current iteration, it’s expected to pass the Democrat-led House in a vote as early as today but is unlikely to be taken up in the Republican-led Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the legislation “outlandish.”

How did talks go?

According to NBC News, Mnuchin on behalf of the White House brought a $1.6 trillion proposal yesterday, which includes $1,200 checks, $400 weekly jobless benefits, and $250 billion for state and local governments. Democrats are unlikely to agree, as the numbers for jobless benefits and state government aid have been sticking points, as is the proposal’s lack of child tax credits.

“We are not finished” with negotiations, Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday. “I’m hopeful. But we do come at it from two different places,” she said, citing a “stark difference not just of dollars, but of values.”

What next?

Pelosi and Mnuchin are set to speak by phone today, in a last-ditch effort to reach a compromise. If it doesn’t happen, Pelosi has indicated, the House will move forward with a vote on its current package.

But if they do reach a compromise, it’ll still have to pass both the House and Senate—and the latter has reportedly been nervous over Mnuchin’s higher-and-higher proposals. According to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, “There’s a real revulsion among Republicans to going above $1 trillion, and even $1 trillion is real difficult.”

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TLDR?

Here’s to the theme song of 2020: Let’s Not Get Our Hopes Up.

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