Second Stimulus Check: Democratic Advantages in Negotiations Could Mean Good News for Another Payment

The chances for a second round of stimulus checks has seemed to dwindle over the past few weeks, but now speculation states the Democrats have negotiation advantages that could mean good news for another payment. Following the CARES Act, which sent out $1,200 stimulus payments to citizens, the House passed the HEROES Act that would have increased the number of second payments. However, Senate Republicans were not pleased with that bill, so they introduced their own, titled the HEALS Act.

Democrat leaders felt that this bill did not go far enough in helping the American people, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer began negotiation talks with the Trump administration, in the hopes of reaching a compromise. These talks broke down, and the Senate Republicans got to working on a new "skinny" bill that they plan to propose. However, Newsweek spoke with experts who say that it is actually the Democrats who hold all the cards now.

"What's their incentive to back down? If Democrats thought they'd be blamed squarely for the deadlock, I think they'd give in or they'd go to the table for something smaller," offered Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. "If you do something smaller, Republicans can say, 'We're done.' And I think Democrats don't want to be in that position."

President Trump has issued many comments on getting more stimulus money to Americans, even previously saying that he would like to give more than the Democrats proposed. He seems to have reversed course on this plan, however, as in a recent tweet he indicated that he actually plans to give less. "I have directed [Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin] to get ready to send direct payments ($3,400 for a family of four) to all Americans," Trump wrote. He then placed the blame for the hold-up elsewhere, saying, "DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!"

Jason Roberts, who is an associate chair and professor in the political science department at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, thinks that Trump really does want to get a new bill going soon, as he could feel like it would be good for his re-election chances. "I think the president is eager to sign something that will show action and that will perhaps provide economic stimulus before the election," Roberts said. "The president gets outsized attention in a situation like this, so President Trump probably has more to lose in terms of perception."