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Stimulus update: What the chaotic four-way negotiations mean for 2nd checks and unemployment

If you’re keeping score, Mitch McConnell wants a targeted bill, Nancy Pelosi wants more, and Trump is saying, “Go big or go home!!!”

Stimulus update: What the chaotic four-way negotiations mean for 2nd checks and unemployment
[Photo: Alejandro Barba/Unsplash]

The next stimulus bill for coronavirus relief is now in deep Crazytown, with negotiations in Congress and the White House spiraling into four-way chaos. Here’s the latest update:

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I heard that a vote is coming

You heard right. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke from negotiations between the White House and Democrats and said that the Senate will take up a new, Republican-proposed narrow bill, likely next week.

What’s in the bill?

McConnell says it will be $500 billion aimed at funding for American workers, including more of the Paycheck Protection Program and extra unemployment benefits. No word on stimulus checks. The Democrat-led House likely will not pass it.

Where is Trump on this?

He’s switched sides! On Tuesday President Trump tweeted “STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!” Until recently, Trump has mostly stayed in lockstep with Republicans in insisting on a drastically smaller aid bill. But now that the struggling economy is hampering his reelection efforts, he has changed his tune.

Where do negotiations stand?

This past weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly offered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a $1.8 trillion bill; this is still significantly short of the $2.2 trillion bill that Democrats passed through the House late last month. Pelosi rejected it, saying it falls far short of needed aid. Some Democrats, including Representative Ro Khanna of California, have urged Pelosi to accept the deal.

So Democrats, Republicans, Trump, and Mnuchin are all pushing different proposals?

Yes. ^That.^

How does the Supreme Court vacancy play into this?

Senators are thoroughly occupied with the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat left vacant by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, which Republicans are attempting to push through before Election Day. The hearings are an energy suck: Tuesday’s hearing stretched over 11 hours, and involved senators playing to the cameras and their constituencies rather than nailing down an aid package.

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So will I get a check?

As of right now, it’s not looking good, but anything could happen.

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