It was a pretty eventful Wednesday for those waiting for the next coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks. Wednesday was full of action, with both bad and good news for those hoping to get coronavirus stimulus checks before the November election. The bad news is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach an agreement yesterday. The good news is the two sides will continue to hold talks and that House Democrats have delayed a vote on their new bill.
Pelosi and Mnuchin, who talked over the phone on Monday and Tuesday, finally met on Wednesday to negotiate the next stimulus package. However, the two failed to reach an agreement.
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After the 90-minute meeting with Pelosi, Mnuchin said they had made a “lot of progress” in the past few days. Mnuchin, however, said they still haven’t reached an agreement.
Pelosi in a statement said they would continue to hold negotiations. “We found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” she told reporters.
Though Pelosi and Mnuchin sounded optimistic, Senate Republican Mitch McConnell suggested the two sides are still far apart. "We are very, very far apart," McConnell said.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, however, sounded upbeat. “I’ve seen substantial movement, yes, and certainly the rhetoric has changed,” Meadows said.
Mnuchin also hinted of making an increased offer to reach an agreement on the next relief package. Speaking to Fox Business late Wednesday, Mnuchin said he expects the agreement to be between $1.5 trillion and $2.2 trillion.
“The president has instructed us to come up significantly, so we have come up from the trillion-dollar deal,” he said. Mnuchin said that Meadows met with President Donald Trump before they went for the negotiations.
Why did House delay vote on new bill?
Though Pelosi earlier on Wednesday suggested that House Democrats would hold a vote on the updated HEROES Act later in the day, the vote was eventually delayed to Thursday, notes a CNN report. The vote was delayed to give more time for Pelosi and Mnuchin to reach a bipartisan agreement on the coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks.
Time, however, is running out with the Presidential election just about a month away. The House Democrats are also scheduled to go on a break later this week. Thus, they are pressuring Pelosi to hold a vote on the updated HEROES Act so that they have something to tell voters when they go back home for the election campaign.
The hopes of a bipartisan deal would fade away if the House votes on the new bill costing about $2.2 trillion. This is because the bill would fail to pass the Senate. The Senate Republicans have been unwilling to support a relief package costing more than a trillion dollars.
So, Thursday will be important from the perspective of the next coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks. If Pelosi and Mnuchin fail to reach an agreement, then the House will likely vote on the $2.2 trillion bill.