It is now almost confirmed that there won’t be any stimulus before the election. However, lawmakers are optimistic that there will be an agreement on a coronavirus stimulus package and checks once the election pressure eases.
Lawmakers expect coronavirus stimulus checks in lame-duck session
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been negotiating on a relief package for the past few weeks. However, this week the two stopped talking again and are blaming each other for the impasse.
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Many lawmakers believe that such reluctance over the stimulus package could vanish once politicians get free from the election tension and political pressure. Senate Republican Whip John Thune believes the same thing and is optimistic on a deal once the political stakes are lower.
“The motivation level on both sides will depend on how the election comes out, but I think either way we’ll do something. The question is how much,” Thune said, according to The Hill.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who is also the co-chair of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, hopes for a deal in the lame-duck session as well.
“I’m eager to hear — depending on what happens in the election — what the White House would say and where McConnell is,” Gottheimer said.
Experts also believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Pelosi will also have more incentive to agree on a package in the lame-duck session. A deal after the election would make it easier for both to put together a yearly appropriations package before the New Year. McConnell and Pelosi have been longtime members of the Senate and House appropriations committees.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, notes that officials have been working on a stimulus deal before year-end. Further, Capito says it would be “preferable” to have a stimulus package before the spending bills are due.
Why Trump, Democrats and the GOP will favor a deal post-election
One senior Senate GOP member also expects a stimulus deal in the lame-duck session because Senate Republicans won’t have much pressure then to please all their voters. The aide says Democrats will also have less motivation to oppose Trump, and thus, they will agree to a stimulus package.
"Pelosi and Schumer didn't want to cut a deal before the election. After the election and after McConnell is reelected as leader there is more opportunity," the aide said, according to The Hill.
The aide admits that reaching an agreement won’t be easy but notes that if Pelosi shows some real intent, then “anything is possible."
There is doubt that President Trump will be interested in passing a stimulus package if he loses the election. Addressing this, the GOP aide says that Trump will be “looking at historical legacy” and a chance to say “these are my vaccines,” referring to the funds used for healthcare initiatives.