Cautious optimism for economic relief package before Election Day
Image: Jernej Furman
WASHINGTON - White House officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remain engaged in a furious back-and-forth over details surrounding a stimulus package dealing with the coronavirus and its effects. The haggling has picked up steam in what is the last week a bill can be written, passed by committees, and voted on by both chambers prior to the election on Nov. 3.
The Dow Jones rose over 300 points mid-day Tuesday over the new found optimism on Capitol Hill. Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon the White House and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had “come a long way” but the biggest differences remain the amount of money for state and local government aid due to a sharp drop-off of tax revenue and liability protections for businesses.
Even if a deal is reached, many Senate Republicans have balked at the price tag that could reach $2 trillion. The Senate is set to vote on a narrower, $500 billion package that mirrors the bill it blocked in September.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chamber would consider a potential agreement, but Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota said it would be “hard” this time to get 13 Republicans to join with all the 47 Democrats to overcome a filibuster.
The parties have agreed to extend supplemental unemployment benefits, send another round of checks to qualifying Americans, replenish the PPP and send money to schools so they could reopen. President Trump and Republicans have pushed for smaller, targeted bills that can address issues one by one, but Democrats, including Senator Doug Jones from Alabama, have said they would rather do one bill rather than a “piecemeal approach.”
The Senate is still expected to take up Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court this weekend and then adjourn until after the election which may impact the timeline to get a deal passed and signed.