Despite it now nearing a month since many provisions provided under the CARES Act have expired, Congress seemingly made no progress over the weekend in passing another stimulus relief bill. Negotiations had begun in mid-July, though ultimately collapsed, with the latest lack of developments only further stoking fears that further relief will not be coming.
Over the weekend, legislation did move through Congress, though no measures were made in regards to relief. On Saturday, in a vote of 257-150, the House of Representatives approved a bill providing $25 billion in funding to the U.S. Postal Service. Many had hoped that this vote would act as an olive branch to end the stimulus bill stalemate, according to Forbes, though it only seems to have deepened the divide between Democrats and Republicans. Shortly after the bill was approved, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has stated that it will "absolutely not pass" in the Senate, criticized Democrats "ignoring the urgent needs of American workers and families."
House Democrats have spent weeks ignoring the urgent needs of American workers and families, but they rushed back to Washington the instant that overblown conspiracy theories about the U.S. Postal Service convinced them their own jobs might be in jeopardy. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/41VdckTLw0— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 22, 2020
On Sunday, meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not so subtly hit back, placing the blame for the lack of another relief bill on Republicans. Across multiple tweets, Pelosi slammed McConnell for not bringing the HEROES Act to a vote in the Senate. That legislation was the Democrats' stimulus proposal, which was introduced in May and was approved by the House later that month.
Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff and one of the four members at the negotiation table, also weighed in over the weekend. Speaking on ABC's This Week, he said that the bill that passed the House over the weekend "was not a serious bill" and claimed that it "doesn't do anything to sustain the postal system long term." He questioned why the House reconvened "only deal with postal" and asked, "Why did they not deal with enhanced unemployment? Why did they not extend the PPP program that actually helps small businesses?"
Despite the stalemate in negotiations, there is some hope. During his interview, Meadows also said that the White House is still open for talks, stating that "if we agree on five or six things, let's go ahead and pass those." He added that President Donald Trump is "willing to sign" a slimmed-down package. He said that he intended to call Pelosi in the hopes of restarting negotiations.