Stimulus check 2: Here's when top Democrat says it will happen

Illustration of hundred-dollar bills and a check from the U.S. Treasury poking out of a manila envelope against the backdrop of the American flag.
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Although there may still be hope for a stimulus check 2 as talks between Democrats and the Trump administration inch forward, a top House Democrat is cautioning that a deal is unlikely to happen before Nov. 3. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the third-ranking member of his party, said on Wednesday (Oct. 21) that he believed lawmakers will take up a bill "a week or two" after the election. 

This skepticism followed a missed Tuesday-night deadline, set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), to cut a deal with the White House. 

"The election is less than two weeks away, and I believe we'll be back in Washington a week or two after the elections and we can do something there," Clyburn said while appearing on CNN. "At least the elections will be behind us. People will know what their futures are."

Pelosi had previously said that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who represents the White House, had to reach consensus two weeks ahead of Election Day to ensure a vote before Nov. 3. She is still talking with Mnuchin and reports indicate that they may be moving closer to an agreement

In fact, Pelosi suggested on Wednesday that her goal was still to finalize a bill before the election. 

"I'm optimistic that there will be a bill," she said in an interview with MSNBC. "It's a question of, is it in time to pay the November rent, which is my goal, or is it going to be shortly thereafter and retroactive?" 

However, economists are skeptical about the chances of a last-minute agreement — Goldman Sachs on Wednesday cautioned clients that "a deal doesn't seem particularly close." 

Second Senate 'skinny' bill fails

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a second GOP attempt to pass a "skinny" stimulus proposal, which would have provided $500 billion in relief but no $1,200 check to eligible Americans. The bill, which had little hope of passing to begin with, did not garner the 60 votes needed to move forward. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has long been resistant to considering anything that comes out of talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin, even as President Donald Trump keeps raising the amount he's willing to spend.

While McConnell indicated earlier this week that he may be willing to bring a bill to the floor for a vote, he privately said on Tuesday (Oct. 20) that he had warned the White House not to cut a deal with House Democrats before Election Day. 

Publicly, McConnell told reporters Tuesday that "if a presidentially supported bill clears the House at some point, we'll bring it to the floor." 

But McConnell didn't specify whether he would immediately call a vote on a bill that happened to pass the House before Nov. 3.

Emily Long

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.