Senate is making progress on next stimulus package

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Lawmakers don’t always work on weekends but given the dire situation that the country is in and the upcoming deadline on August 7, Senate members are reportedly putting in time on the weekend.

(I know, what a sacrifice.)

Reportedly, there was progress made this morning in the Senate on negotiations for the next stimulus package.

“This was the longest meeting we had and it was more productive than the other meetings,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “We’re not close yet, but it was a productive discussion — now each side knows where they’re at.”

The 3-hour meeting this morning also took place with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

It sounds like there may be some progress made on extending the unemployment benefits at least in the short term. Indeed, the president and now other Republicans are proponents of extending the bonus $600 unemployment benefits for the time being.

That is quite the departure from what we heard in the past, and it’s huge for those people struggling on unemployment.

These rapid “about faces” have happened with other issues like the stimulus checks which a lot of Republicans did not think would be passed a couple of months ago. Yet, now it looks like not only will the stimulus checks go out once again but they could possibly go out in higher payment amounts.

But there are other major hot button issues like aid for state and local governments, food stamp increases, and aid to renters and homeowners. The food stamp increases may be one of the next major issues for these negotiations.

Another issue that is currently complicating the debate is whether or not voting by mail should be allowed. If it is allowed, resources will need to be allocated to that and so it could become a crucial part of this next stimulus package.

So while progress is being made, there is still quite a ways to go until we see the stimulus package get finalized.

“We’re still a long ways apart and I don’t want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not,” Meadows stated. “There are still substantial differences, but we did make good progress.”

From other reports, it sounds like there is quite a bit of division among Republicans. Even though Democrats do not have the majority in the Senate, it’s likely that they are trying to capitalize on this division to gain more support for their agendas.

Although many lawmakers wanted a deal done by the end of July, that obviously did not happen and now the next deadline is likely going to be August 7 which is the last day before the month-long scheduled recess.

If a deal is not made by then, it still is possible that the Senate could extend their session but I have a feeling that most lawmakers are going to take that as a pretty firm deadline and we will likely see something finalized by then.

H/T

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