Second Stimulus Negotiations: Senate Walks Away Until After Labor Day, Leaving Relief Package Stalled

The dwindling chances for a stimulus bill to be passed in August are officially gone. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally adjourned the Senate until Sept. 8. This means that any chances of a second stimulus check likely won't happen until the second half of September.

"We will have our regular pro forma meetings through the end of the state work period," McConnell told reporters on Thursday, via The Hill. "If the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader of the Senate decide to finally let another package move forward… it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled." He then added that he hoped the Senate would be able to "act sometime soon."

The Senate was initially slated to adjourn on Aug. 7 but stayed in session while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had been negotiation with members of the Trump administration. The House had previously adjourned as scheduled.

However, there will be a 24-hour notice given to Senators requiring them to return if Pelosi and Schumer reconvene with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to resume negotiations. On Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley predicted that if negotiators didn't restart by Thursday, Trump's recently-signed executive order would be the only action to take place. "If it doesn’t happen in the next 48 hours, I think this is all you're going to see until Congress gets back into session after Labor Day," Grassley said. Granted, the four of them meeting again this week was impossible, given that Meadows is currently on vacation.


Pelosi had also called out Meadows for his choice of vacation time. "When you're having an opportunity like this to do something for the American people, it's an opportunity, but we can't have it be a missed opportunity to do that by settling for something so low, so beneath meeting the needs of the American people."

However, one of the main sticking points was the Republicans had set a $1 trillion price cap on the proposed HEALS Act, which was less than half of the CARES Act that was passed in March. Democrats wanted a figure closer to $3 trillion, which was the cost of the HEROES Act which was passed by the House in March but was never brought to a vote in the Senate.