• Little progress has been made on a new stimulus bill to give people much-needed aide during the coronavirus pandemic, with Democratic and Republican leaders still at odds over everything from how big a new relief package should be to what it should contain.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, if he wins the 2020 presidential election in November, would no doubt support an aggressive, expensive new stimulus bill.
  • The problem, however, is that it may not be up to him whether one gets passed or not.

At this point, it’s mostly an academic exercise to speculate what may or may not be in a new stimulus bill, irrespective of who wins the presidential race in November.

The task confronting the next president when it comes to fixing the nation’s economic challenges will be daunting, no matter who ends up being chosen as the nation’s 46th president. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has already teased various highlights of his economic agenda — as well as the more urgent wish list of items that would be part of any stimulus bill he pushes for straight out of the gate. New stimulus checks are likely to be part of that mix, especially since Biden and his economic advisors are worried that the nation’s economic picture is getting worse with each passing day, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the Trump administration’s ham-handed response to it.

Meanwhile, current White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters in recent days that President Trump is willing to sign a new stimulus bill into law that has a price tag in the range of $1.3 trillion. That’s about $300 billion more than where the latest coronavirus stimulus bill, the $1 trillion HEALS Act, ended up in the Senate — but still off by a wide margin, compared to the $2.2 trillion that Democrats in the House of Representatives want to spend.

And therein is the biggest factor that will determine what ultimately gets decided next in terms of a new stimulus bill.

If you watched any of the Republican National Convention last week, it would have been pretty hard to argue with the fact that Trump was the star of the show — even when he wasn’t on the screen. By and large, the convention revolved around Trump’s election, with aides, surrogates, and others trying to make the case for it, which made room for little else during the convention.

No one, however, is talking nearly enough about the biggest factor that will determine whether or not Americans get all the things people are hoping to see in a new stimulus bill, such as funding for a new round of stimulus checks as well as more benefits for workers who find themselves newly jobless amid the coronavirus pandemic. That factor is control of the Senate.

Democrats currently control the House of Representatives, but legislation they’ve sent over to the Senate keeps hitting a brick wall in the form of GOP opposition. It’s something, we should add, that’s currently happening with a Republican presidential administration. We can speculate all we want about what will be in a new stimulus bill, but if Trump can’t even strong-arm members of his own party in the Senate, it seems likely that Biden would have an even tougher challenge confronting him if the upper chamber of Congress remains in Republican hands.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.