A weeks-long summer recess amid stalled stimulus relief negotiations is coming to an end for members of Congress. In the coming days, Congress is officially set to reconvene, with members of the Senate heading back to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 8, followed by the House of Representatives on Monday, Sept. 14.
Upon their return, congressional lawmakers will already have a lot on the table, and will be facing increasing pressure from the general public to strike a deal to bring further relief amid the economic crisis. The initial start of their recess had been briefly stalled after the White House and top Democrats failed to come to an agreement following the introduction of the HEALS Act only two weeks earlier. Although there had been hope discussions would continue, phone calls between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have ultimately led nowhere and have only proven how far apart both sides remain.
This, however, isn't stopping some movement on the floor towards relief. This week, Senate Republicans are expected to unveil and vote on another stimulus package. Dubbed by some as a "skinny" package, this bill will reportedly have a price tag of just $500 billion. Details of the bill have yet to be confirmed, though it has been suggested that it will target children, jobs, and liability protections for small businesses. Several reports have stated that it will not include a second round of stimulus payments, despite that they have gained bipartisan support.
It is unclear how this proposal will fare, though Forbes notes that both parties may be more willing to reach a deal now given the upcoming November election. The outlet points out that neither Democrats nor Republicans will want to be viewed as the party to hold up relief, paving the way for more leeway given by both sides. The current unemployment rate, which has fallen but still remains high, may also prove to push lawmakers towards a deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has suggested that the upcoming election may in part be to blame for the lack of a deal. Speaking at an appearance in Kentucky last week, McConnell explained that while he would "like to see one more rescue package," he is unsure if it will happen as "the environment in Washington right now is exceedingly partisan because of the proximity to the election," KETV 7 reports. He said that he "can't promise one final package."