House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had another discussion to negotiate the next stimulus check bill on Tuesday, but once again, it was fruitless. The two sides spoke on the phone for 36 minutes about the divide between their two parties, according to a report by CNBC. Pelosi issued a statement afterward saying that they did not make much progress.
"Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing," Pelosi said. As before, Pelosi cited their disagreement about the overall price tag of the stimulus bill. Pelosi and the Democrats have dropped their requests from over $3 trillion to about $2.2 trillion, while Republicans have crept from $1 trillion to a tentative $1.3 trillion. Pelosi does not believe this is enough money for the American people.
Many Americans took this as a bad sign for the negotiations, which are expected to start back up in earnest next week. The United States Senate has been out of Washington, D.C. for nearly a month on recess, holding the stimulus bill up all that time. They are scheduled to return to session on Sept. 8, but it will be a while before they have a formal vote.
The two sides are agreed on some aspects of the bill — most notably, the stimulus checks itself. If it ever passes, it will likely look nearly identical to the first round, with up to $1,200 per person based on gross annual income, with similar thresholds to those set in April.
The issues the two sides still disagree on include enhanced unemployment insurance, liability protections for businesses and funding for states and local governments, among others. However, analysts like Forbes' Rob Berger suggest that the more fundamental issue is the two sides' approaches to the negotiations. Republicans are asking Democrats to compromise on one issue at a time, itemizing the bill, Berger says, while Democrats are asking for the entire size and scope of the bill to be broadened.
The CARES Act shattered the record for government spending on stimulus back in March at $2.2 trillion. Much of that went to programs for businesses and municipalities, but according to a report by Business Insider, the aid to individual Americans still did not measure up to that given in other countries. While Americans are desperate for another one-time payment, many are receiving monthly or quarterly support through the coronavirus crisis.