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Despite all of our leaders calling for immediate plans for more stimulus relief, stimulus negotiations are still showing little signs of coming together before the new year.
Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was able to make some form of progress with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he is now not heading up the negotiations and has been replaced by Mitch McConnell who has a much more conservative outlook on a stimulus bill.
“We’re not hundreds of millions of dollars apart,” said Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James.
“We’re not billions of dollars of apart. We’re arguably trillions of dollars apart,” he said.
“To get additional relief, we really have to see a forcing mechanism.”
Even though there are major reasons to doubt progress, there are also a couple of things that could act as a “forcing mechanism.”
The first is the December 11 deadline to avoid a government shut down.
This could act as a natural deadline for figuring out the stimulus relief although there has not been a lot of explicit discussion about using that deadline as the motivating force for more relief.
Moreover, we previously passed deadlines for government shut downs and those did not lead to results for stimulus negotiations so that may not be enough.
But in addition to the December 11 deadline there are the runoffs in Georgia that will take place in early January.
Those elections will determine the future make up of the Senate and whether or not it is controlled by Democrats or Republicans.
That outcome is going to be huge for stimulus talks (not to mention the future of our country).
If both spots go to Democrats, it’s not unreasonable to think that a stimulus bill could be 2 to 3 times larger than it otherwise would be.
It’s possible that polling could reveal that passing more stimulus relief could affect that election outcome in favor of one party or the other.
It could make voters feel more favorable about their Republican leaders or could do the opposite.
So if Republicans got the sense that they would benefit from passing a bill, it’s possible that they could be more agreeable to passing a larger bill just to lock down control of the Senate over the next couple of years.
This could lead to a stimulus bill getting done in December.
“If McConnell thinks that ‘I can win those two runoffs in Georgia by getting a bill,’ he’ll do it,” Gleckman said.
“And if he thinks he can win those two runoffs in Georgia by not getting a bill, he’ll do that.”
So while January is probably the most reasonable and likely time to expect something to happen, it’s not completely out of the question that we could see something happen prior to that.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.