Congress moves closer to new stimulus relief package

A second stimulus check is officially back on the menu. After weeks of advancing a COVID-19 relief package without funding for an extra check, negotiators in Washington are shaping a new $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill that is said to include a second stimulus check. Instead of another $1,200 payment, however, the bill will set a cap of $600 or $700 per person, according to multiple news outlets.

The bipartisan negotiators, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will have only days to complete a government funding deal by the Friday deadline, as well as finalize the stimulus package. A vote for the $900 billion stimulus could arrive as soon as Friday or Saturday, according to reports, with the legislation starting in the House of Representatives before moving on to the Senate and then, if it passes both chambers, to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature.

A coronavirus aid proposal before Jan. 1 is considered emergency legislation to institute a safety net for expiring benefits that could leave tens of millions of unemployed Americans without an income and millions of households facing eviction. A sweeping deal like the $2 trillion CARES Act from March, which authorized a $1,200 stimulus check for most Americans, is more likely to return to the table in early 2021, top US leaders have implied. President Donald Trump, too, has called for “more money than they’re talking about” in stimulus checks, and has continued to push for a second check in the final bill.

If and when a deal is secured, the next phase will be for leadership to convince their respective caucuses to get on board and build enough consensus for it to pass both the House and Senate. Republicans have been wary of legislation with too large of a price tag and have at least resisted bills that exceed $1 trillion. Since the pandemic hit the U.S., Congress passed several relief bills in the spring for a combined total of about $3 trillion.

Leaders on both sides have acknowledged that more coronavirus relief will be addressed in the next administration. We’ll update this story as more develops.

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