The House of Representatives is working on a new coronavirus relief package — including a direct stimulus check — in the hopes of restarting negotiations with the White House and the U.S. Senate. A source familiar with the plan told CNBC on Thursday that the plan is meant to get the attention of the Trump administration since talks there have stalled. The bill would cost about $2.4 trillion.
The new stimulus bill reportedly includes enhanced unemployment insurance, new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, aid for the airline industry and direct stimulus checks. It has other provisions, but Democrats have dropped about $1 trillion from their last formal bill — the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed back in May. According to a report by Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed Democratic committee chairs to draft this legislation. The House could vote on this bill as soon as next week, but whether the Senate can be convinced to pass it remains the critical question.
Pelosi has pushed Republicans in the Senate and the White House to raise their price tag for the next stimulus check bill. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have suggested that they would consider a bill of up to $1.3 trillion. Still, Senate Republicans have not committed to anything over $1 trillion. Pelosi has said that these lawmakers need to meet her and other Democrats closer to the middle.
Republicans and Democrats have struggled to pass a stimulus bill since May, with several false starts and stops since then. Some deadlines that seemed imperative have come and gone — most notably, the expiration of enhanced unemployment insurance. This $600 per week program ended on July 31, and since then, millions of unemployed Americans have gone without assistance that Democrats say is vital.
Economic experts are becoming more and more concerned about the continued lack of stimulus legislation. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell spoke before the U.S. Congress, urging them to pass some kind of assistance on behalf of other financial analysts.
"I would say many, most, [forecasters] assume some fiscal action. Fiscal action underlies many, many current forecasts," he said. "The economy will begin to feel those negative effects at some time."
However, many political analysts fear that further action will be delayed since the Senate is now focused on replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg before the 2020 presidential election. So far, the Senate has not responded to news of the House's upcoming new stimulus proposal.