Lawmakers from both parties support sending a second $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check, but so far the lack of a deal has kept a second round of direct payments from being sent. There is new hope that Democrats will return to the bargaining table, but the two sides are far from an agreement on the next coronavirus relief package.
There has been a lot of talk about other provisions for the coronavirus relief package, which has caused the second $1,200 stimulus check to fall through the cracks despite the agreement on it. However, it seems likely that if Congress can ever reach a deal on a relief package, a second $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check will be included.
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Raymond James analyst Ed Mills told CNBC that provisions which have bipartisan support could draw negotiators back to the bargaining table. Among those provisions are the second $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check and more aid for small businesses.
He believes a second round of checks will indeed be included in the coronavirus relief package when an agreement is finally reached. He said it's "one of the only areas that truly has bipartisan support."
The big question now is when there will be an agreement on the next coronavirus relief package. Mills pointed out that the longer we go without expanded unemployment benefits and the longer the economy stays partially close, the "greater the economic need is for those checks."
Negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package broke down early this month, and lawmakers didn't even get down to the nitty gritty of the plan. The White House and Democrats disagreed on the price tag of the bill, with the Trump Administration wanting to spend $1 trillion and Democrats wanting to spend $3 trillion.
The Democrats refuse to return to the bargaining table unless the White House will agree to spend $2 trillion. They want that agreement without any deal on any of the provisions that will be included, but the Trump administration opposes spending money on provisions that have nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The administration won't agree to spend $2 trillion without looking at the possible provisions of the bill first. The result has been an impasse between both sides of the negotiations.
Funds for the Postal Service
The White House has since shown signs of being willing to compromise by adding funding for the U.S. Postal Service. Democrats want to see widespread mail-in voting, but President Donald Trump opposes that because many people who die or have moved will end up receiving ballots.
Nonetheless, the Trump administration has agreed to spend $10 billion on the Postal Service, but Democrats probably won't see that as enough to bring them back to the bargaining table. The Democrat-led House of Representatives is returning temporarily from their August recess on Saturday to vote for a $25 billion bill solely for the Postal Service.
The Republican-led Senate is unlikely to agree to spending $25 billion on the Postal Service, which makes the House's return seem like a waste of time, especially if they won't reenter negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sees the Democrats' return on Saturday as a sign that they may be willing to resume negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package. He told CNBC that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be willing to resume negotiations because she is returning to Washington on Saturday to vote on the Postal Service bill.
If lawmakers ever do come to an agreement on the next coronavirus relief package, the second $1,200 stimulus check might be similar but not the same as the first round of payments. Both parties support sending a second $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check, but the details of their proposals differ.
Republicans want to repeat the first round of payments, sending $1,200 to individuals and $2,400 to couples earning less than $75,000. They also want to keep the payment for dependents at $500. There is a chance the second round of checks could extend the payments to spouses of immigrants who were excluded from the first round of checks.
Democrats want to include illegal immigrants, but Republicans are unlikely to agree to that. The general consensus is that people should come into the country legally if they want to receive benefits. However, the fact that both sides agree on a second $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks means they might be able to reach an agreement on the other details.
The big question now is whether they will be able to strike a deal on the other provisions, like unemployment, aid for state and local governments, funding for schools, and other issues.