The chances of another stimulus relief bill being approved by the end of the year are beginning to look even bleaker. As Americans await any news of another relief package and hold out hope for a second stimulus payment, both chambers of Congress are preparing to enter a week-long recess.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are scheduled to begin a recess next week, Axios reports. According to the 2020 congressional calendar, the Senate will return to Capitol Hill on Monday, Nov. 30, with the House following on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Both chambers of Congress will remain in session until Friday, Dec. 18, after which they will break for the holidays.
The recess comes as the country remains the grip of yet another wave of the virus. On Wednesday, the U.S. officially registers its 250,000th coronavirus death, with that number continuing to rise. Hospitalizations are also on the rise, with hospitals again becoming overwhelmed with patients. As a result, some cities and states are enacting new restrictions in an effort to slow the spread.
As the cases continue to rise, there has been some hope. Phase 3 trial results from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Modern have found their coronavirus vaccines to be approximately 95% effective. While experts are praising these results, it will still be weeks before Americans have access to the vaccines, and it will be months longer before the majority of the general public will be able to get vaccinated.
The recess also comes as a number of programs that had been enacted or renewed amid the pandemic near their end. On Dec. 26, 12 million people will lose their federal and state unemployment benefits, according to a study from The Century Foundation. The foundation noted that "this cutoff threatens to pull the rug out from under an economy that has already seen millions of workers lose their state unemployment benefits this fall." The study also found that a total of more than 16 million workers will have lost CARES Act benefits by the end of the year. Also set to end by the end of the year is eviction protection and student loan deferrals.
At this time, it is unclear when a new stimulus package will be approved. Although there had once been hope that a bill would be passed by Election Day, those negotiations collapsed. In the weeks after, it has appeared unlikely that a bill will happen before the end of the year. It is possible that Americans will have to wait until after Inauguration Day. President-elect Joe Biden's administration already has a stimulus plan laid out, though it would not be able to be enacted until after he takes office on Jan. 20.