While stimulus check talks are becoming more frantic and difficult to track, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured voters that she is still being thoughtful about the legislation. In an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday, Pelosi said that she does not intend to stage a performative vote on a bill that Republicans will reject. Instead, she said she wants to work with her political rivals to ensure that the next proposal will pass.
"We could put a bill on the floor, but we want to put a bill on the floor that will become law," Pelosi explained. "We have a number of schools of thought: those who want us to put $3.4 trillion on the floor, then come down in negotiation from there. Those who say just put something on the floor. But what we want is to put something on the floor that will become law. And so that requires negotiation."
These remarks follow months of failed negotiations between the Democrat-controlled House, the Republican-controlled United States Senate and the White House itself. This goes all the way back to May, when the House passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, and the Senate ignored the bill entirely, not even bringing it to a vote. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stalled until the end of July, when he introduced his $1 trillion HEALS Act. as a counter-offer.
Neither bill has been able to get sufficient support to pass, and neither side has been able to compromise far enough to meet in the middle. Pelosi has slammed Republicans for their inflexibility — while she has agreed to drop her proposal from $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion, Republicans have only half-heartedly suggested that they will go as high as $1.3 trillion. "We have come down," Pelosi said. "But the needs of the American people — we can only go so far."
As the stalemate has gone on, Republicans attempted to rally with a "skinny bill" — a smaller, more targeted stimulus package that would only contain some of the programs and items included in the overall plan. According to a report by The Hill, some Democrats now support this idea as well, seeking to "recalibrate" their priorities for a series of smaller bills. However, Pelosi has resisted these efforts, saying on Tuesday: "a skinny bill is a Republican bill."
As the political stalemate carries on, millions of Americans are unemployed, in danger of losing their housing and even facing food scarcity, all without the aid provided by the earlier stimulus check. Economists generally agree that another stimulus package will be needed to see them through this crisis.