There were plenty of developments on the proposed second stimulus check this week, but that does not necessarily mean the legislation is any closer to passing. The United States Senate and the House of Representatives are still at a stalemate when it comes to the coronavirus relief bill, and the White House is now arguing for its own, separate agenda. According to a CNN report, the Senate is planning to vote on a new stimulus measure on Tuesday, but it is not clear whether it will pass.
The Senate is rushing to vote on a stand-alone bill for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) on Tuesday, with analysts guessing it is an empty political gesture. Democrats in the House are most likely to block this bill, wanting all stimulus programs in a single, cohesive package. McConnell announced Tuesday's vote on Saturday, taking an abrupt and sharp turn away from his previous comments that a stimulus package was unlikely before election day.
Political analysts are generally agreed that McConnell's "targeted" stimulus bill this week will not pass since a similar attempt to split the package up has already failed. Meanwhile, the White House and Congress are closer to an agreement, widening the divide between McConnell and President Donald Trump. Trump has now gone as high as $1.8 trillion for stimulus, which falls short of Democrats' $2.2 trillion proposals, but not as far short as McConnell's $1 trillion.
On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuching told CNBC that "a deal would be hard to get done before the election." He went on: "We're going to keep trying. Don't want to say not likely, but there are significant issues."
At this point, the Senate may be as big of an issue for the White House as the House of Representatives is. Another report by NBC News suggests that McConnell, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and other prominent Republicans are only turning their attention back to the stimulus check because they can no longer ignore how badly the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging their home states. Author Nicholas Kamm argues that up until now, these senators were counting on their Supreme Court appointment to make up for the lack of financial aid.
New cases of COVID-19 are spiking all around the U.S., particularly in the Midwest. With the virus claiming hundreds of lives per day in this country, it will likely play a pivotal role in the 2020 election for all public officials, including those who have failed to pass a stimulus check so far.