Encouraging news: Stimulus negotiations are now resuming

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Well, it’s been a while since we have had anything remotely encouraging regarding the next stimulus package and more stimulus checks.

Basically, all of the negotiations came to a complete halt after the November 3 election and no discussions were ongoing.

Despite leaders like President Trump and Joe Biden calling for lawmakers to come together and pass a large stimulus bill, essentially nothing was getting done.

But it looks like we now have our first glimmer of progress that we have not had in quite a while.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has agreed to resume negotiations with Democrats re: a potential new relief bill.

“Last night, they’ve agreed to sit down and the staffs are going to sit down today or tomorrow to try to begin to see if we can get a real good Covid relief bill,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said during a news conference in New York.

“So there’s been a little bit of a breakthrough in that McConnell’s folks are finally sitting down and talking to us.”

Just getting all of the necessary actors to the table is indeed the first step to making any progress.

There still is a long way to go though.

McConnell has been the main proponent of a small stimulus bill valued at close to $500 billion and has attempted to get one of these bills passed on multiple occasions.

When Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin were making progress in their negotiations in October, McConnell never seemed to truly be on board with the high price tags close to $2 trillion that they were discussing.

He was, however, willing to bring those numbers to the Senate floor which at least signals that he is somewhat open minded to a big bill.

So while there is a chance some progress could happen, it’s not clear that these talks will be able to actually get anywhere when they begin (which should be today).

In fact, some congressional aides, both Republican and Democratic, have told NBC that Schumer may have been overselling the development.

Personally, what I think is going to happen is that these individuals will get together and start talking about a new relief package (as well as government funding to prevent a government shut down on December 11).

Both sides will quickly realize that they are too far away from each other in terms of overall price tag since they will likely have a difference of close to $1.5 trillion as their starting points.

The Democrats will then want to hold off until after the January runoff elections have happened just in case they are able to surprise everybody and sweep those elections.

(Remember, that would give Democrats control of the Senate which would allow them to pass the huge $3 trillion package that they really want to pass.)

If the Georgia elections do not go their way, Democrats will probably want to wait until Joe Biden is sworn in as president which seems to be the most likely outcome.

We will then be back to the drawing board in terms of what type of stimulus aid will get passed but with all of the elections behind everyone, it seems like it might be easier to focus on knocking out the terms of a deal.

I would love to be wrong on all of this and for lawmakers to come to a swift agreement but I just don’t see that happening.

I think January, and perhaps even early February, is going to be the time when things get done.

That should also be the time when vaccines start to ramp up production and distribution and I think a lot of people are going to start feeling more optimistic about putting the virus behind us at that time.

H/T

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