Second Stimulus Checks: Why It's Unlikely Congress Will Reach a Relief Deal Before Election Day

A second round of stimulus checks is not yet on the way, and it's unlikely that Congress will reach a relief deal before Election Day. Ultimately, it mostly boils down to disagreements over how much it should cost. The GOP-led Senate wants to keep the bill at around $1 trillion or less, while the Democrat-led House of Representatives believes it should be $2 trillion, or more.

Additionally, at this point, the chances of a bill deal being reached by Nov. 3 — Election Day — is unlikely, due to multiple other factors. One is that leaders from all sides of the table do not see eye-to-eye on what the bill should cover. Additionally, Congress is currently busy with the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Senate will vote on a stimulus bill of his own design, priced at $500 billion, before the body votes on Barrett's nomination, which is set for Thursday, Oct. 22.

The first stimulus payments went out as part of the CARES Act legislation, which was created to help the U.S. with financial instability during the coronavirus pandemic. The Democrat-led House passed a follow-up bill in May — the HEROES Act — a $3 trillion bill that would meet the needs of many citizens and businesses. The Republican-led Senate did not support this bill, as they found it to be too costly. They drafted their own bill — the HEALS Act, priced at $1 trillion — which Democrats have felt does not provide enough financial help to Americans.

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Congress drafted its own "skinny" relief bill, but Democrats rejected that as well. The House then passed an amended version of the HEROES Act, which lowered the price tag, but that was not acceptable to Republican leaders. The White House has also drafted a proposal, but it was met with criticism from both Democrat and Republican leaders. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have met and spoken multiple times over the past several weeks, but no deal has been reached regarding the next stimulus bill.