With the Senate pausing floor action for two weeks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have further obstacles to overcome if they intend to reach an agreement on the next wave of coronavirus relief and then get the new bill passed.now less than a month away, negotiations between Democrats and White House officials are already under pressure before many Americans . But now with and
“The President’s committed to getting a deal done, but he wants to make sure that we move expeditiously but also in a fiscally responsible manner,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News on Monday.
“I am confident that we will have an agreement,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “The timing of it I can’t say, because I don’t know.” Following the interview, Pelosi answered a Politico reporter’s question about whether she expects to reach a deal this week: “One way or another — depends on if they really want to crush the virus, honor our heroes and put money in the pockets of the American people.”
After three Republican senators tested positive for COVID-19, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suspended his chamber until Oct. 19. Because Senate floor votes are held in person, McConnell said he would recall Senators to vote on a stimulus package if needed and would give them 24 hours to return to the Capitol.
With all that’s happened over the past few days, we answer questions about how Trump’s COVID diagnosis could impact the talks, the quickest a new bill could realistically pass and what happens if there’s no agreement before the election. We regularly update this story.
Read more: Theand .
How does Trump’s illness effect stimulus negotiations?
For now, that’s uncertain, apart from Trump’s Saturday tweet highlighting his desire to sign a new stimulus package into law. Trump, his medical team said Sunday.
Although she remained circumspect Sunday, Pelosi has highlighted the way Trump’s COVID diagnosis and treatment could shift the dynamics of a new coronavirus relief package.
“Maybe this will be the moment where people will say, ‘OK, masks, sanitation, treatment,'” Pelosi said Friday morning, before the president was hospitalized. “It might be a learning experience.”
Pelosi and Mnuchin have both tested negative for COVID-19.
Prior to Trump’s hospitalization, McConnell seemed cautiously optimistic the two sides might be able to find a middle ground. “I think we’re closer to getting an outcome,” he said Oct. 2.
Pelosi ended the previous week with a letter to House Democrats outlining the remaining areas of disagreement.
When could a new coronavirus relief bill realistically pass?
Now that the House is on a break following its session Oct. 2 and the Senate is on hold, negotiators are running out of time to reach an agreement on another stimulus package before , Nov. 3. If negotiations continue, the last day a new bill could pass is up in the air, since the schedules to break can be extended by the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.
If the two sides do reach an agreement, it could take a week or more before it comes up for a vote, Politico said. To become law, Congress would have to approve the bill and Trump (or Vice President Mike Pence, ) would need to sign it into law.
Possible timelines for when a stimulus bill could pass
|House votes||Senate votes||President signs|
|Oct. 16||Oct. 19 (when Senate is back in session)||Oct. 20|
|Oct. 23||Oct. 26||Oct. 27|
|Oct. 30||Oct. 31||Nov. 2|
|Nov. 6||Nov. 9||Nov. 10|
Didn’t the House pass a new stimulus bill? What’s going on?
On Oct. 1, the House of Representatives passed a revised Heroes Act that includes a second stimulus check and additional benefits like enhanced unemployment benefits for tens of millions of Americans. The new House bill, endorsed primarily by Democrats, has little chance of advancing through the Republican-controlled Senate, though.
According to Pelosi, the vote on the revised Heroes bill is independent of ongoing negotiations with Mnuchin. If Pelosi and Mnuchin agree on a new proposal, a new bill would need to be separately drafted and voted on in both the House and Senate before being signed into law. The total cost of the package and funding allocations like a child tax credit have remained chief sticking points.
Why did the House vote on Heroes 2.0 if talks are ongoing?
The vote is thought to provide cover for House Democrats as they campaign without a new relief bill, much as the Senate did earlier in September for Republican members with its $650 billion skinny bill. Like the skinny Senate bill, this new House proposal has little chance of advancing in the other chamber.
What do Republicans and Democrats agree on?
Proposals from both sides include another for individuals , among topics like aid for airlines, coronavirus testing and extending the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses.
If talks fail, could the president seek executive action?
After talks originally collapsed on Aug. 7, Trump signed might consider another executive action to bypass Congress.the following day. It’s possible more executive actions could be forthcoming if this final attempt at negotiations fails before the election, though there’s been no development after Trump first suggested his administration
With his medical condition still under review, it’s unclear if Trump would pursue unilateral action at this point.
Pelosi expressed doubt about Trump’s ability to use executive orders for additional relief funding.
“No. No. He can’t do this by executive order,” Pelosi said on MSNBC on Monday. “He can’t do the money without the Congress of the United States. The power of the purse begins in the House.”
Trump’s current COVID-19 relief executive actions address trying to , extending to a lesser degree and until next year.
Could negotiations resume again after election results are in?
Yes. If this current sprint of talks dead-ends, leaders may want to see what happens in the period after theand before the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. Pelosi and congressional Democrats may also believe they can reach a more favorable deal in 2021, depending on who’s elected president.
With 470 seats in the US Congress — 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats — up for a vote in November, any change in majority to the House or Senate, and to the presidency, shifts the likelihood of certain laws being passed one way or another. Right now, the Senate is led by Republicans while the House is led by Democrats.
What about passing narrow, standalone bills instead?
If the two sides reach an agreement but the Senate rejects the new bill, some in Washington say the way to break the stalemate is to pass a series of narrower bills that target specific areas — such as the entertainment and airline industries. But that’s unlikely to happen before the election.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows revived the discussion on Oct. 5. “Meadows again calls for passing stimulus relief piecemeal — an approach Democrats have rejected for months — and then stresses the importance of moving in a ‘fiscally responsible manner,'” tweeted Jeff Stein, the Washington Post’s White House economics reporter.
Senate Republicans made one attempt with its Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act, but that proposal failed in the Senate. The House also presented a piecemeal bill seeking to provide ahead of an in which many Americans, wary of in-person voting during a deadly pandemic, will likely be .
So what happens now?
For now, there’s nothing to do but wait and see how Trump’s recovery progresses and how the ongoing negotiation efforts play out.
For more information, here’sand what to know about the stimulus bill proposals that could help inform a final package.