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We’ll know by the end of the day if we’re getting more $1,200 stimulus checks

Published Oct 20th, 2020 9:54AM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: Rod Lamkey - CNP/MEGA
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to “narrow their differences” on a new stimulus package with $1,200 checks for Americans.
  • If a stimulus package is going to pass before the election, the details need to be finalized and a deal needs to be reached by the end of the day on Tuesday, according to Pelosi.
  • President Trump says he wants an even bigger deal than what Pelosi is proposing, but many Republican Senators have said they will refuse to vote for a multi-trillion dollar bill.

We are now exactly two weeks away from the November election, and yet we still don’t know whether or not another major stimulus package is going to be passed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to reach a deal for weeks on end, and at long last, there finally appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. According to Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, the two “continued to narrow their differences” in a call this Monday, and now committee chairs are cutting deals with their GOP counterparts on key elements of the bill.

“The Speaker continues to hope that, by the end of the day Tuesday, we will have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election,” Pelosi deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted on Monday. “The two principals will speak again tomorrow and staff work will continue around the clock.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Pelosi has stated that if the two sides can’t reach a deal by Tuesday night, the negotiations will continue, but they won’t be able to pass anything until after the election. She said this deadline “only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do.”

After the conversation, Pelosi appeared on MSNBC on Monday evening, explaining that the White House has “finally in the last 24 hours […] come to a place where they are willing to address the crisis.” Pelosi initially came to the table with an updated $2.2 trillion HEROES Act (down from $3.4 trillion in May), and the most recent counteroffer from the White House was for $1.8 trillion. That might not sound like a big gap, but the devil was in the details.

The updated HEROES Act features many of the same core tenets of the initial bill, including more $1,200 stimulus checks for taxpayers plus $500 for their dependents, improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program, assistance for airline industry workers, more funds for child care and education, $436 billion to help state and local governments, more money for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, and resources to ensure safe elections.

Meanwhile, President Trump has been telling everyone who will listen that he wants an even more substantial deal than what Pelosi has proposed. “Not every Republican agrees with me, but they will,” Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning. “I would rather go bigger than her number.”

Even if Pelosi, Mnuchin, and Trump were to somehow strike a deal, overwhelming evidence suggests that the GOP-led Senate is entirely averse to passing a bill that even begins to approach $2 trillion.

There are currently 47 Democrats and Independents in the Senate, and even if each of them supported the bill, they would need at least 13 Republicans to join them for their bill to pass. According to Senate Majority Whip John Thune, Republicans’ “natural instinct, depending on how big it is, and what’s in it, is probably going to be to be against it.” He then added: “I think we’re going to have a hard time finding 13 votes for anything.”

But all hope is not lost.

Indiana Senator Mike Braun is one of the Republicans who will oppose any bill in the trillions, but even he concedes: “If they bring it up for a vote, I’m guessing there will be enough to get it across the finish line.”

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.