Despite the negotiations last week, the lawmakers failed to reach a deal on the relief package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, however, have agreed to continue the negotiations, keeping hopes alive of another relief package. Apart from this, there was one more event last week that may play a part in getting the next package approved. This event is President Donald Trump testing positive for coronavirus, and many believe, it could prompt negotiators to speed up talks on the next relief package, including the stimulus checks.
An eventful last week for relief talks
Last week was quite eventful. Pelosi and Mnuchin talked several times on the topic of a relief package, resulting in Mnuchin making an offer of $1.6 trillion. However, it was rejected by Pelosi. Later, the House Democrats passed the $2.2 trillion updated HEROES Act. Also, Pelosi and Mnuchin agreed to continue talks this week.
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Lawmakers are also optimistic about reaching a deal soon. Pelosi, in a letter to House colleagues, last week, said that negotiators are working “quickly to facilitate an agreement." However, she admitted that the two sides still have differences over several points, including federal unemployment benefits and local funding.
"We are expecting a response from the White House on these areas and others with more detail," she said.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell also sounded optimistic on the deal. “But the talks have speeded up in the last couple of days. I think we're closer to getting an outcome,” he said.
Will Trump’s hospitalization speed up coronavirus stimulus checks?
As of now, it is not very clear how Trump’s diagnosis could impact the negotiations. Many say that rising coronavirus cases among Republican leaders and those close to Trump could impede the negotiations. On the other hand, many believe that the rise in cases could encourage lawmakers to speed up the next relief package.
Pelosi also believes that Trump contracting the virus could serve as a wake-up call for Republicans, who so far have been taking things lightly. Democrats have been asking for a relief package of about $2.2 trillion that includes giving money to states to fight the pandemic. Republicans, however, are not willing to spend more than a trillion dollars on the relief package.
“This kind of changes the dynamic because here they see the reality of what we have been saying all along - this is a vicious virus,” Pelosi said.
Coronavirus still remains a threat to the U.S. As per CNN, only three states – Texas, Missouri and South Carolina – have reported a drop in the number of cases after they hit the highest daily rate. In all, the country has registered more than 7.41 million positive cases and 209,000 deaths.