Why coronavirus stimulus checks are still very possible

Updated on

Since last week there have been reports that the next stimulus package would not include direct payments. The new bipartisan bill also didn’t include stimulus checks. However, over the past couple of days, support has grown for another round of coronavirus stimulus checks.

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White House in favor of checks

The $908 billion bipartisan bill has been in the news lately, and seems to be gaining support on both sides. However, the bill lacks the much-awaited coronavirus stimulus checks, and thus, was criticized by many.

Surprisingly on Tuesday afternoon, the Trump administration came back into the stimulus negotiations, offering a proposal for a $916 billion package. This proposal includes a $600 direct payment to most Americans. The offer was made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Democrats, however, expressed skepticism over the latest proposal from the White House. In a joint statement, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argued that this proposal might “obstruct” the progress made in stimulus negotiations in recent days. The two said that the bipartisan bill is the best way to move forward.

“Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution,” they said.

Rising support for coronavirus stimulus checks

Another hint that stimulus checks might be back on the negotiating table comes from Politico reporter Jake Sherman. In a tweet on Tuesday, Sherman noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “softened” his stance on the direct payment. McConnell has long been in favor of a targeted stimulus package that doesn’t include stimulus checks.

There are reports that McConnell is negotiating directly with Pelosi with an objective to pass a mid-sized relief bill. On the other hand, the White House is negotiating a package separately and Trump is still in favor of stimulus checks, Sherman says.

Further, Sherman noted that whatever proposal the negotiators come up with is most likely to get approved.

"Not because they’re doing anything wrong — they're not!" Sherman said. "But it's late in the game, and if a package is going to come together, it's likely going to come from the leadership, with elements of that group's work being included."

Along with Trump, president-elect Joe Biden is also in support of stimulus checks. Previously, Biden has shown support for the HEROES Act, which includes $1,200 in checks. If there are no checks now, Biden is expected to push for the direct payment once he takes office.

Biden has already announced most members who will be part of his economic team. His team primarily includes labor economists, so it is believed that the stimulus talks would be a priority when he takes office. Also, a team of labor economists could mean stimulus checks for Americans.

So, it is believed that if the lawmakers come up with a smaller package before the end of the year, there are good chances of Biden taking the lead to send out stimulus checks earlier next year.