Congress returns to Washington on Monday, testing its collective will to pass deadliest weeks since the coronavirus pandemic began. Facing the end of by Dec. 31, up to 20 million renters at risk of losing their homes, up to one in six Americans going hungry, and new unemployment claims up for the second consecutive week.before the end of 2020. The final sprint before 2021 occurs after one of the
"The economy is going to be very uncomfortable between now and when we get the next fiscal rescue package," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told the Associated Press. "If lawmakers can't get it together, it will be very difficult for the economy to avoid going back into a ."
The House of Representatives has nine official in-session days and the Senate 14 days before both chambers break for the new year. With less than a month to debate, draft and vote on a new stimulus package, however, Congress is expected to work overtime, including weekends, in the effort to close a deal of some sort.
After the last votes on Dec. 4, for example, House members "are encouraged to remain in Washington," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday. "As conversations surrounding legislation related to government funding, coronavirus relief and NDAA are ongoing, these bills will be considered by the House as soon as they are ready."
The Senate and House leaders can recall members at any time for a special vote.
The next wave of economic relief aimed at individuals and the economy could include, extra and crucial funding for small businesses.
Current forecasts predict that the US could see a total of 294,000 to 321,000 COVID-19 deaths reported by Dec. 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Nov. 25. In the US, over 263,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's potentially up to an 18% increase in COVID-19 deaths in 22 days, following the mathematical model. On Wednesday, the country recorded over 181,000 new cases and nearly 3,000 deaths from the disease.
Here's what we know about where negotiations stand right now and what could happen before the end of the year.
Could a bill of any kind get approved?
In the eight months since the, the two sides have held fast to their respective positions, Democrats favoring a large bill with a second stimulus check and Republicans embracing a smaller relief package as a stopgap until the are administered in mid-2021. (Here's what could happen if .)
As a result, there is more pressure for President-elect Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to support a smaller stimulus package than the that Democrats have backed since May. This bill would include a and , plus and funding for more programs besides. The idea behind the strategy shift would be to get some aid through before and try to pass a larger bill after he takes office.
On Nov. 23, a transition insider denied the claim that Biden's transition team reportedly urged Democratic leaders in Congress to strike a deal now, according to a tweet from Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein.
How quickly could a new stimulus package pass?
Here are some possible scenarios that could play out over the coming weeks and months, depending on which way the wind blows in Washington.
When could a stimulus bill or package pass?
|House votes||Senate votes||President signs|
|Dec 9||Dec 10||Dec 11|
|Feb 1, 2021 (after inauguration)||Feb 2||Feb 3|
|Feb 16 (Feb 15 is President's Day)||Feb 16||Feb 16|
|Mar 15||Mar 16||Mar 17|
A stimulus bill is completed before Jan. 20: An agreement is made, and the current House and Senate vote before the new Congress is seated in January. If President Donald Trump signs the rescue bill into law, , with certain groups receiving financial help before the end of 2020.
Negotiators agree on a stimulus deal, but it fails in either the House or Senate: In this situation, Democrats and Republicans could advance their own proposals that might pass in their majority chambers but fail (or fail to be considered) by the other. In this case, Congress might try again after Biden is sworn in as president.
A smaller bill could pass now, and a larger one could happen later: It's possible that a subset of programs gets funded before Biden becomes president, for example unemployment aid or an, with the new Congress revisiting other programs, like a , after . As sitting president, Trump would need to sign any bill passed before Jan. 20 into law for it to take effect.
Talks once again fall apart until after Jan. 20: If partisan differences keep a bill from passing, it's likely they'll restart in some capacity after the inauguration in January. Here are someif a stimulus bill doesn't pass by the time he's sworn in as president.
If a bill does pass that includes a direct payment, here's.
Yes, the House's $2.2 trillion stimulus package still matters
On Oct. 1, the House of Representatives passedthat included a and such as for tens of millions of Americans. The House bill, endorsed primarily by Democrats, was not expected to advance through the Republican-controlled Senate, and indeed did not.
It provides the framework Pelosi is working from, however, has Biden's support and could figure into future negotiations, depending on whether Georgia's state runoff on Jan. 5 gives Democrats control of the Senate (Republicans currently maintain a two-seat lead).
Which programs do Democrats and Republicans agree on?
Proposals from both sides have included the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses, , and another for individuals . Although not every commonality would make it into a smaller bill, if that were to pass first, these measures are most likely to gain bipartisan support. The two sides also agree on more financial assistance for coronavirus testing and vaccine deployment.
Here are more details on thebetween the White House Republicans and the Democrats.
For more information about stimulus checks, here's, , and what to know about the stimulus bill proposals that could help inform a final package.