Second Stimulus Checks Back on the Table
Hours after pulling out of negotiations for another economic stimulus bill, President Trump calls for immediate action on a second round of stimulus checks.
Wait, what? President Trump is now calling for immediate action on a second round of stimulus checks? Yes, it's true!
Literally hours after pulling out of negotiations for a comprehensive economic stimulus bill that would have most likely included another round of $1,200 payments to most Americans, the president sent a tweet Tuesday evening asking for legislation authorizing more stimulus checks. (His tweet halting negotiations for a stimulus bill was just days after another tweet supporting such a bill).
"If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY," Trump tweeted late on Tuesday. "I am ready to sign right now." In a separate tweet, the president also called for $25 billion in additional aid for the airline industry and $135 billion of new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which he said would be paid for with unused funds from the CARES Act.
This represents a hard turn towards a piecemeal approach to providing additional economic support. In other words, passing separate bills for particular benefits instead of having one large bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have consistently rejected this approach.
Time is Running Out
If a deal on any additional economic relief is going to be reached before the November 3 election, it must happen soon. The House is already in recess (although they could be brought back for a vote), and Senators will leave Washington next week. The Senate is also focusing on the confirmation process for Amy Coney Barrett, who was nominated by Trump to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
If an agreement can't be reached before the election, a second round of stimulus checks might have a better chance of passing during a post-election lame-duck session of Congress. If that doesn't happen, the new Congress that convenes in January might have better luck. But that would depend largely on the outcome of the elections and who is in control of the White House and Congress next year.