Republicans and Democrats started negotiations on the next relief package in late July. After about two weeks of negotiations, the two sides went on recess with no decision on the relief package. Since then the two sides haven’t resumed negotiations. Now, there are hints that the two sides could restart negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: Mnuchin, Pelosi to resume talks
On Thursday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin informed that he had been speaking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the past few days. Mnuchin said she has agreed to resume talks on the coronavirus relief package.
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"I've probably spoken to Speaker Pelosi 15 or 20 times in the last few days ... and we've agreed to continue to have discussions about the CARES Act," Mnuchin said.
Pelosi also informed reporters yesterday that she expects to restart negotiations with Mnuchin "hopefully soon." Pelosi’s remark may suggest her willingness to talk on the overall price of the package, which has been the sticking point in the negotiations so far.
"I'm talking to my caucus, my leadership, and we'll see what we're going to do," she said, according to the New York Times. "But we're ready for negotiation. That's what we're ready for."
What can we expect now?
Pelosi may be ready to resume negotiations on the coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks, but it does not really appear that she wants to compromise on anything below $2.2 trillion. This is because on Thursday Pelosi directed House Democrats to a draft a new bill that would cost about $2.2 trillion.
It is the same amount that Pelosi has been demanding lately for the relief package. In May, the House Democrats passed a stimulus proposal, the HEROES Act, costing more than $3 trillion. This new $2.2 trillion bill could also mean that Pelosi wants to start negotiations with this new bill as a base.
So far, the White House has offered a compromise on $1.3 trillion. Democrats, however, have rejected this offer, as well as a higher package costing about $1.5 trillion introduced by a bipartisan group a couple of weeks back.
So, if Pelosi is willing to compromise now, she is likely looking for an offer that is more than $1.5 trillion but less than or equal to $2.2 trillion. However, it is unlikely that Republicans and the White House would be willing to offer so much.
The Senate Republicans have already made their intentions clear by introducing a proposal costing about $500 billion earlier this month. Last week, the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also said that a demand for a relief package costing more than $2.2 trillion "isn't a negotiation."
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see the response of the Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump to this new bill from Democrats considering the election is just about a month away.