Democrats and Republicans may still be negotiating the next stimulus relief package, but if a deal is reached on Friday, Aug. 7, what would happen next? Currently, it seems unlikely that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck will strike an agreement. However, they have continuously stated their desire to conclude by the Friday deadline. Should that be reached yet, it wouldn't mean aid in the legislation would immediately be available.
After the negotiation is reached, the bill, which will likely be a hybrid deal of the Democratic-backed HEROES Act and the GOP's HEALS Act, will have to be approved by both bodies of Congress. Mnuchin previously stated that should a deal be reached Friday, the legislation would be passed next week. Under this timeline, Monday, Aug. 10, is the soonest a new bill could make it to the floor of the Senate or House.
According to CNET, although an exact timetable for this bill remains unclear, the schedule laid out through the passing of the CARES Act, the first coronavirus relief legislation passed, offers some clues. After being approved in the Senate, the bill became law within three days. This means that if this new deal were to be passed by the Senate on Monday, and if it followed a similar timetable as the CARES Act, it could be signed by President Donald Trump on Aug. 12. If the House were to vote on Tuesday, Aug. 11, followed by a vote by the Senate that Wednesday, it could become law on Thursday, Aug. 13. A vote in the Senate on Aug. 13, meanwhile, could mean that it potentially won't make it to the president's desk until Friday, Aug. 14. After that, it is unclear how long it could take for aid provided under the package to be made available, though it has been stated that the second round of stimulus checks could begin being distributed within a week.
If a deal is not reached on Friday, a few different scenarios could play out. Least likely would be that Congress chooses to adjourn as is currently scheduled. Given the current economic crisis, however, this seems to have only a slim chance of happening. Instead, it is more plausible that negotiations will continue. Although the House of Representatives began their recess last week, they are reportedly on standby and ready to reconvene for a vote once a deal is made. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also signaled that the Senate will not begin their recess Friday and will "certainly be in next week" in anticipation of approving legislation.
A third scenario that has been tossed around is intervention from President Donald Trump. As negotiations continued and seemingly went nowhere, the president began floating the idea of taking executive action to bring aid to the American people. Although the full scope of this proposed executive action has not been revealed, the president has floated the idea of extending unemployment benefits and eviction protection, as well as "term-limited suspension of the payroll tax," by executive order.