Those looking for an update on the second stimulus check will be disappointed to hear that once again, there’s been no movement on a coronavirus relief package. In fact, it looks like the negotiations are dead in the water until next month, which is bad news for the many Americans who are struggling under the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The finger pointing over the next coronavirus relief package is running full tilt. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a dramatic stance on Wednesday, saying that if talks over the stimulus package stretch into late September, "people will die."
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The House of Representatives is set to return to Washington in mid-September, although Congress could return early if the talks over the coronavirus relief package finally result in a deal. Those hoping for an update on the second stimulus check will have to keep waiting.
On Wednesday, Democrats and the White House attempted to meet again to talk about the next coronavirus relief package after ending discussions on Friday. However, Wednesday's talks ended after just a few minutes, according to The Washington Post.
President Donald Trump announced that an agreement is "not going to happen."
Update: agreement on second stimulus check but nothing else
The latest update is that lawmakers on both sides agree that a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks should be sent, but they still disagree on pretty much everything else. Democrats blame the White House for the talks stalling because they offered to split the difference on the price tag for the bill.
Republicans are set on a $1 trillion price tag, but House Democrats wanted to spend $3 trillion. Republicans say state and local governments don't need as much money as Democrats want to earmark for them.
During a press conference, Trump criticized Democratic proposals to pay for preparations for the November elections and the U.S. Postal Service. He said they were part of an attempt to push through things that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
Those issues are just two of the many that have divided the White House and Democrats over two weeks of talks that collapsed on Friday.
Pelosi's conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Wednesday marked the first time the two sides have spoken since talks over the next coronavirus relief package stalled on Friday. Following the brief conversation, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement accusing the White House of "refusing to budge."
After their statement, Mnuchin issued his own statement, saying that Democrats "have no interest in negotiating." He also said Pelosi's statement "is not an accurate reflection" of their conversation. He added that Pelosi made it clear she wouldn't even continue the talks unless the White House agreed to her proposal in advance.
There won't be another update on second stimulus check
Both sides' refusal to negotiate leaves the economy and struggling Americans hanging. The extra unemployment aid ran out at the end of July, so millions of jobless Americans are struggling even more. The unemployment rate is now at 10.2%.
The Hill reports that economists say the previous coronavirus relief packages kept that rate from exceeding the peak unemployment rate of 14.7%. Trump took executive action in an attempt to add $400 to the weekly unemployment benefit, but it's unclear how that will work.
Cash-strapped states are supposed to kick in $100 of the extra money, while the rest will come from federal disaster funds. Trump also ordered an extension of the moratorium on evictions, but experts say the order won't actually have that effect.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on both sides to return to the negotiating table, although he had stepped away from the talks due to the division it caused in the GOP.