Supreme Court tussle may further delay coronavirus stimulus checks

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There are already quite a few things that are delaying the next relief package. Now, add one more reason to that list. The focus of Capitol Hill is now likely to shift to the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice. This, many believe, could further delay the next coronavirus stimulus checks.

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Supreme Court Battle to delay coronavirus stimulus checks?

Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week said that he would hold a vote before the November election, in order to fill the vacant seat.

President Donald Trump is also in favor of this, saying that he wants to nominate a Supreme Court justice “without delay.” Trump has already vowed to appoint a woman.

Democrats, including Joe Biden, however, are opposing it. They say that the winner of the November election must get the opportunity to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

With both sides at odds over one more matter, it is unlikely they would focus on resolving already pending issues. Things were already looking gloomy for the next relief package. Now, this matter of appointing the next Supreme Court justice could further delay the coronavirus stimulus checks.

Even before this matter came up, not many were expecting a deal on the next stimulus package before the November election. Several efforts to bridge the gap have already failed, including the $1.5 trillion bill proposed by a bipartisan group last week. The proposal was rejected by Democrats who believe that it was inadequate to meet the needs of Americans.

Other reasons for delay

Along with the issue of appointing a Supreme Court justice, another matter that could likely delay the relief package is the funding for the federal government. Congress will have to pass a resolution to keep the government working beyond September 30, 2020. Since this needs the approval of both sides, it is expected that passing this resolution would take some time.

With just a few weeks left before the November election and three important issues still pending – federal government funding, filling the Supreme Court seat and deciding on the next relief package – it is likely that the stimulus deal would be moved to the back burner.

Another delay in the coronavirus stimulus checks could come because several members of House of Representatives and Senate may not be available next month. Many members are up for re-election this November. So, they will want to reach out to the voters as much they can.

Though such members would be busy with election campaigns, they can always come back for voting on short notice. Pelosi has already said that the House will stay in session until early October to strike a coronavirus relief deal. However, it isn't clear how many members actually want to stay back.