Next coronavirus relief package: Can checks still go out in August?

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It is almost mid-August and we don’t yet have any stimulus package. In fact, we are nowhere close to it because talks have yet to resume on the next relief package. So, one question that many would have is will there be stimulus checks in August, or will there be any coronavirus relief package at all? The answer to this question hinges on three things – when Democrats and Republicans will reach a consensus; how quickly the Senate and House will vote on the coronavirus relief package; and how quickly the President will sign it into law.

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Coronavirus stimulus package in August?

Talking of when Democrats and Republicans will reach a consensus, this is the biggest question. Both sides were expected to reach a deal on the coronavirus relief package by August 7, but the talks collapsed. There were wide differences between the two sides.

After the talks collapsed, President Trump came up with executive orders for enhanced unemployment benefits, student loan relief, and a payroll tax holiday. Since earlier this week, both sides have expressed the intention to resume talks and make a compromise. However, there are still no real signs of negotiations.

There are reports that there may not be any serious talks this week and next because White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is out for the week. However, it is unlikely that the fate of millions will be made to rest on one person not being in their office.

It is also possible that both sides feel they have the upper hand, and thus, are not showing any urgency to resume negotiations. However, if both sides want to start sending stimulus checks in August, then they will have to agree on the coronavirus stimulus package within the next five to seven days.

Urgency needed from House, Senate and Trump

Once both sides agree on the stimulus package, the next step is to vote in the House and Senate. This, however, may not take much time if all agree on the provisions of the next package.

At the time of the CARES Act, the voting part took just two days. The first coronavirus deal was announced on March 25, and on the same day, it was passed in the Senate. Two days later, i.e. on March 27, the bill passed the House.

We can expect the same urgency this time as well. Things, however, could get delayed a bit due to opposition from some Senate Republicans. Still, we can assume that it could take two to four days for the bill to pass the Senate and House.

Once the bill passes the House and Senate, the only thing it needs to become law is the approval of the President. This again won’t take much time. At the time of the CARES Act, Trump signed it the same day (within a couple of hours) that Congress presented it to him.