As talks on the next coronavirus relief package remain stalled, it looks like they will end up being tied to budget talks to avoid a government shutdown. That means we can expect no progress on the negotiations until late September. That means if there is a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, it won’t start going out until at least October.
Coronavirus relief package tied to government shutdown
The deadline to pass the next federal budget and avoid a government shutdown is Sept. 30, and talks on the next coronavirus relief package could be delayed until then or shortly thereafter. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Politico on Wednesday that he believes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will use the budget talks to push for a deal on the next coronavirus economic stimulus.
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Meadows added that the White House doesn't want to end up with a government shutdown over the next coronavirus relief package. That could mean both sides will be more open to striking a deal when the deadline for passing next year's budget approaches.
The key to passing the next coronavirus economic stimulus is a bipartisan mindset, and there hasn't been one on Capitol Hill since the CARES Act was passed in March. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are refusing to negotiate, and there haven't even been any talks on a bill in weeks.
Disagreement over attempts to restart talks
Highlighting just how deep the chasm between the GOP and Democrats has become, there is a disagreement about whether the two sides have even attempted to restart talks over the next coronavirus relief package.
Meadows claims he contacted Pelosi's office in an attempt to resume negotiations, but her office claims he only contacted them to verify a phone number and not to reach out about the talks. Even if Meadows did reach out to Pelosi, it's unlikely she would have agreed to meet because she has said they won't resume talks unless the White House agrees to a $2 trillion price tag without discussing what the coronavirus economic stimulus package would contain.
The Trump administration refuses to agree to a blank check of $2 trillion without knowing what the bill will contain. The two sides never even got to negotiating about the contents of the coronavirus relief package.
Why government shutdown talks may trigger coronavirus relief package deal
Unfortunately for those in dire straights for need of relief, no help will be forthcoming until the hostage negotiators arrive in late September. Avoiding a government shutdown alone could be difficult enough without the added complication of talks about a coronavirus relief package.
Thus, it could take even longer than usual to pass legislation dealing with the budget if both sides try to push through their pet projects along with the budget. Neither Democrats nor Republicans seem worried about the millions of Americans who are struggling as news reports indicate that spending on things like groceries has cut back since the stimulus ran out.