Lawmakers are working to reach a deal on the next stimulus package before Friday (Aug. 7), which could deliver a second round of $1,200 checks as early as next week.
CNET reports that if a compromise isn’t reached on the cost and scope of the latest aid package for Americans within 24 hours, the Senate and House will likely delay their August recesses. Putting off a measure until September is not an option for either party.
While Democrats and Republicans are in agreement over providing the new stimulus cash, they are divided over eviction protections and the amount of federal weekly unemployment benefits.
"We have to have an agreement and we will have an agreement," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the PBS NewsHour of meeting the deadline.
On Tuesday (Aug 4), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his goal is to reach an overall agreement by the end of this week so legislation can get Congressional approval next week.
“If I could get [the new stimulus bill] passed tomorrow, I could start printing them the following week,” Mnuchin said.
That’s a lot quicker than the 19 days it took for the Internal Revenue Service to issue the first stimulus checks after the CARES Act was passed in March, CNET reported.
The only disagreement on the checks is how much each dependent should receive. The CARES Act allotted $500 for dependents age 16 and under. The Republican HEALS Act also allocates $500 for dependents of any age, but the Democratic HEROES Act calls for $1,200 for a maximum of three dependents.
Politico reports that the need for Congress to act comes at a crucial time. President Donald Trump and a number of senators are facing tough races for reelection this fall. Some of the members of the GOP have signaled that they are being pressured by voters over the lapse in assistance. On top of that, Democratic opponents are buying ads criticizing them for inaction.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who faces a competitive reelection challenge, told Politico that it would look like a dereliction of duty for the Senate to recess without inking a deal, as millions of Americans face economic catastrophe.
“The COVID-19 response is going to be an important part of the 2020 election. It’s obviously not going away,” he said. “It will be a looming factor.”