Is the Plug Being Pulled on a 2nd Stimulus Check?

By Stefano Tromba
September 9, 2020

Americans have patiently waited for a decision on whether to expect a second stimulus check. And wait they will. It seems a second check isn’t part of the plan. But first, let’s take a look at the pending government shutdown that’s looming.

A plan is currently in the works to prevent a shutdown at the end of the month. This plan would most likely fund federal operations into December, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday.

While Mnuchin publicly stated that Republicans and Democrats haven’t reached a final agreement on spending, he did say he hoped Congress would move ahead with a bill “by the end of the week.” Funding will lapse after Sept. 30 if lawmakers fail to approve an appropriations package.

Is a Shutdown Coming?

“For now, the most important thing is to make sure at the end of the month we don’t shut down the government and we get something past the election,” the Treasury secretary said. Congress goes back to work this month from its August recess with a lengthy to-do list awaiting them. As lawmakers work to stave off of a shutdown, they’re also dealing with the fifth coronavirus stimulus package that has eluded approval up to this point.

The White House and Democrats announced a deal this week to move forward with a “clean” temporary spending bill to avoid a shutdown.  Meanwhile, Mnuchin expects Congress could pass more than one short-term government funding bill before it approves spending through the end of the next fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.  The Treasury secretary indicated that negotiations have shown little progress since they fell apart in August. Mnuchin said he and Trump “believe we should do more stimulus.”

Agree to Disagree

Republicans and Democrats not agreeing isn’t anything new. However, the inability on both sides to agree on a price for the stimulus bill is delaying any financial help reaching Americans. The Trump administration has refused to meet Democrats’ demands to increase the cost of its roughly $1.3 trillion relief plan to $2.2 trillion.

“Where we’re really stuck is both on certain policy issues and more importantly, the top line,” Mnuchin stated. Adding to this stall is the question of how much stimulus aid to send to state and local governments. Democrats want more than $900 billion in new relief for states and municipalities. The Trump administration has proposed $150 billion in new funding.

Senate Republicans aim to consider a roughly $500 billion aid plan this week. It would address areas that include unemployment insurance, new small business loans, money for schools, and funding for Covid-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines. However, the bill doesn’t include the second round of direct payments, in the way of stimulus checks, to Americans.

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