Stimulus Update: Lawmakers Hope for Reinvigorated Talks After Election Pressure Releases

Hope for a stimulus relief deal before Election Day has all but faded, but lawmakers are optimistic that a bill will be approved after Americans head to the polls on Nov. 3. As Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi trade jabs amid their ongoing negotiations, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle express a belief that current tensions and political pressure on Capitol Hill will subside in the lame-duck session.

The Hill reports that one senior Senate GOP predicted that a deal is likely in the lame-duck because Senate Republicans will not be as worried about angering their base amid the election period by agreeing to Democratic priorities. Democrats, the aide said, "will be less motivated to deny Trump a legislative victory and credit for boosting the economy."

"Pelosi and Schumer didn't want to cut a deal before the election. After the election and after McConnell is reelected as a leader, there is more opportunity," the aide said. "It's not easy because of the way Pelosi is negotiating. But if she's open to a conversation about what is realistic and possible, then anything is possible."

The outlet also reports that Senate lawmakers and aides believe that Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and Pelosi "have a strong incentive" to approve a stimulus bill during the lame-duck session, as it will make it easier to put together a full-year annual appropriations package before Christmas. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who spoke to the outlet, said appropriators had shifted focus to putting together a relief deal ahead of a year-end regular omnibus spending package. She explained that it would "definitely be the preferable" course to reach a deal before the year-end spending bills are due.

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Speaking to the outlet, Senate Republican Whip John Thune added to such hopes, explaining that "the motivation level on both sides will depend on how the election comes out, but I think either way we'll do something. The question is, how much." Rep. Josh Gottheimer, the co-chair of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, added that he is "certainly hopeful" that the current partisanship on Capitol Hill will thaw. He said that he is "eager to hear — depending on what happens in the election — what the White House would say and where McConnell is."

It is unclear when exactly a deal will be reached and a bill will be passed. Although Pelosi and Mnuchin are close to reaching a deal, recent remarks indicate that there are still several roadblocks. Both Pelosi and President Donald Trump have indicated a desire to approve a bill after Election Day.