President Donald Trump on Saturday may have signed a series of executive orders after White House officials and Democratic leaders failed to reach an agreement on a new coronavirus relief deal, but that doesn't necessarily mean that negotiations are finished. With the executive orders facing a wave of opposition and several measures critical to the American people not covered under them, discussions could continue on Capitol Hill in a last-ditch effort for more sweeping legislation.
On Saturday, as the president signed the orders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a "call to Republicans to return to the table, meet us halfway and work together to deliver immediate relief to the American people." They argued that the president's orders were "unworkable, weak and narrow policy announcements" and that "the only solution to crush the virus and protect working families is to pass a comprehensive bill that is equal to the historic health and economic catastrophe facing our country."
Although it is unclear if Republicans will answer that call, as Congress was scheduled to begin a month-long recess after Friday, if negotiations were to continue, a stimulus package could be passed as early as this week. As CNET reports, if both sides managed to work out their differences on the most pressing issues, the legislation could presumably go to a vote Tuesday or Wednesday. If both chambers approved it by Wednesday, it could make it to the president's desk by Thursday.
Another scenario is the president's executive orders getting tied up in court. The president signed one executive order and three memoranda targeting a payroll tax deferment, extending unemployment benefits, extending an eviction moratorium, and deferring student loan payments and forgiving their interest. This action, however, has raised questions regarding whether or not Trump can legally make certain decisions that constitutionally require an act of Congress, meaning that they could run into legal trouble. In that case, it could spark renewed talks by both parties to bring relief to the American people. Should discussions resume and lead to a deal, the executive orders could be found null and void.
A third and far direr possibility is both the negotiations grinding to a complete halt and the executive orders not progressing. In such a scenario, the American people could not expect further relief amid the pandemic, despite the ongoing economic crisis.