Tens of millions of Americans may be struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic, but hopes for another stimulus relief package are quickly fading. After congressional lawmakers failed to strike a deal last week, senior administration officials are now stating that another relief bill likely won't come "anytime soon," and there is little chance that serious negotiations will resume this week.
These new developments are according to Politico's Morning Money, which cited administration officials in a Tuesday report. According to those officials, who were not named, despite calls from both sides of the aisle, as well as President Donald Trump, for discussions to resume on Capitol Hill in an effort to reach a deal, "there are not likely to be any serious talks this week." This fact mostly has to do with the White House Chief of Staff, one of the four people who had been part of the negotiations before they collapsed, is out for the week.
The outlet also reports that the delay in continued discussions is in part due to the Trump administration feeling "confident they have the upper hand politically" after the president signed an executive order and three memoranda addressing four aspects of the economic crisis. The president, who had previously threatened executive action, signed those orders on Saturday. According to one official, the White House now feels as though they have Democrats in a "real pickle." It has been predicted that Democrats could attempt to block the orders through legal action, as the legality of the orders remains in question. However, the official said that doing so could make it appear as though they are attempting to keep aid from the American people. Democratic lawmakers have so far dodged questions regarding the prospect of them taking legal action.
That same official said that meeting in the middle when it comes to a stimulus bill's price tag – Republicans sought to keep it at around $1 trillion while Democrats proposed upwards of $3 trillion – would be a non-starter. In a last-minute offer, Democrats on Friday had proposed bumping the price tag of the HEALS Act up to $2 trillion, though that counter-offer ultimately amounted to nothing.
It is unclear when or if negotiations will continue. More Money reported that it could be weeks before lawmakers return to the negotiation table to resume serious talks. This situation leaves the fate of several things, such as the second round of stimulus payments and funding for schools, in limbo.