Any chance of a stimulus bill before the election has now been dashed with negotiations reportedly now dead. Also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now adjourned the Senate until Nov. 9, suggesting that it may not be available for a vote on the coronavirus stimulus package and checks.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: Senate was against expensive relief bill
McConnell’s decision to adjourn the Senate comes after the Senators voted 52-48 to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
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“We'll come back in November," Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby of Alabama told The Washington Post. "The question might be, will there be something then?"
It was largely believed that the fate of the next stimulus package depends on the approval of the Senate. This is because the White House and Democrats were in favor of an expensive stimulus package, but the Senate favored targeted relief packages.
At the start of the negotiations in July, the Senate came up with the $1 trillion HEALS Act, but later, it introduced another proposal costing just $500 billion. A couple of weeks back also McConnell came up with two targeted relief bills for a vote in the Senate. Senate Democrats, however, blocked all these targeted relief bills.
McConnell also recently said that he wouldn’t bring a broader relief bill for a vote on the Senate floor. Also, he reportedly asked the White House not to strike a deal on an expensive stimulus package before the election.
Despite McConnell’s opposition, President Trump and his aides have always maintained that the Senate and McConnell would eventually support a stimulus package, if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reach an agreement. In fact, Trump once said that it would take him two minutes to convince the Senate on the stimulus package.
Pelosi and Mnuchin, however, never reached an agreement and the negotiations are also seemingly dead now. So, there is no way of knowing if the Senate and McConnell would have actually supported an expensive stimulus package or not.
Is Senate to blame for no stimulus package?
The Senate being adjourned is not a real reason for no coronavirus stimulus package and checks. In case Pelosi and Mnuchin reach an agreement, it is said that the Senate could be called back for a vote on 24-hour notice. Thus, the real reason for no stimulus package is the failure to reach an agreement.
Now, many believe that the Congress would pass the stimulus package in the “lame-duck” session. However, such a scenario is also unlikely because election results may change priorities in both parties.
“The lame-duck agenda depends largely on the outcome of the election,” Sen. Ron Wyden, who is on the Senate Finance Committee, told Bloomberg Tax. "If my choice wins — Vice President Biden — it's hard to see Mitch McConnell supporting another penny of stimulus."
The next possible deadline to pass the stimulus package would be December 11, or the date to prevent the government shutdown.