Next Monday, November 16, the House of Representatives will join up with the Senate to wrap up their post election term.
This is going to be a key moment because it will likely be one of the last chances that we have for lawmakers to come to an agreement for a stimulus package before the new year and new presidency term.
Both parties state that they want to pass another stimulus relief package before the end of the year but the two sides are still in disagreement over how much to spend.
Now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken over the negotiations for the Republicans, he will likely be pushing for a highly targeted bill capped at a lower amount such as $500 billion.
Meanwhile, there is still no sign that the Democrats are willing to drop down below the $2 trillion range.
Although there are some doubts about Pelosi’s ability to be nominated as Speaker of the House again due to the poor showing of Democrats in the election, she still seems to be the go-to person for negotiations.
“It has been our position all along to crush the virus, honor our heroes, put money in the pockets of the American people,” Pelosi said.
“This is what we put in the Heroes Act to crush the virus.”
As far as how Republicans are feeling about the price tag Democrats are offering, it’s clear that they are not on board but still interested in making some type of agreement.
“That’s not a place I think we’re willing to go,” McConnell said on Thursday.
“But I do think there needs to be another package. Hopefully we can get past the impasse we’ve had now for four or five months and get serious.”
So there is still a substantial gap between the two sides in terms of agreeing on an overall price tag.
As much as the country needs lawmakers to make some progress in the next couple of weeks and get aid/checks out before the end of the year, the situation is further complicated by the runoff in Georgia that will take place in January.
In the unlikely event that Democrats sweep that election, they would have a majority in the Senate when you also assume Kamala Harris will take over as vice president.
That would completely change the dynamics of these negotiations. In that scenario, it would not surprise me to see a stimulus package getting pushed in the $2 to $3 trillion range.
This is especially true if Democrats decide to push the lockdowns that they have been talking about.
So it’s very possible that Democrats will want to hold out until they know the results of that runoff.
And on top of everything, the fact that this is looking like a lame duck session and there are still disputes happening over the outcome of the presidential election, makes me feel like nothing is going to get done until 2021.
Maybe we will be surprised next week when lawmakers come together but I would not count on it.
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