With the election excitement finally starting to wind down, some Washington lawmakers are looking to get back to work on stimulus check 2.
In a letter sent Thursday (opens in new tab) (Nov. 5) to President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) urged the three leaders to move negotiations forward and come to an agreement by the end of 2020.
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"There is no campaigning left to distract and detract from negotiations; Americans cannot wait longer for aid," Axne wrote. "I urge you to finalize a COVID relief package expeditiously so that we can contain the spread of this virus and ensure that no American must fear homelessness, economic insecurity, job loss or business closure during this year."
"Families will need support to get through the winter and to prevent a wave of evictions in January," she explained. "Anyone who has experienced the winter in Iowa knows that heat is not optional, and we must help pay heating and utility bills to save lives."
Axne, a first-term Democrat, narrowly won reelection Tuesday. But she's not the only one suggesting that a deal be done sooner rather than later.
McConnell said on Wednesday (Nov. 4) that a stimulus package would be "Job 1" (opens in new tab) during the lame-duck session following the election.
Pelosi, meanwhile, wants to start talking again, according to the Washington Post (opens in new tab).
"We want the Republicans to come back to the table," Pelosi said Friday (Nov. 6). "The imperative to act could not be greater."
Where stimulus negotiations stand
It's not clear how negotiations between House Democrats, Senate Republicans and the White House will proceed.
GOP lawmakers have resisted the spending level suggested by Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and even put together two "skinny" bills that did not include stimulus check 2.
McConnell said yesterday he would be open to considering Democrats' priorities, including aid to state and local governments.
But speaking to reporters in Kentucky Friday (Nov. 6) after the release of a report showing strong economic growth and a steep drop in unemployment in October, McConnell quashed the notion that he might be open to a big stimulus bill.
"Our economy is really moving to get back on its feet," McConnell said, according to the Post. "I think it reinforces the argument that I’ve been making for the last few months that something smaller — rather than throwing another $3 trillion at this issue — is more appropriate."
Asked for comment on McConnell's words, Pelosi said that "it doesn’t appeal to me at all because they still have not agreed to crush the virus."
Getting back to the table might not be easy. After months of amicable talks, Pelosi and Mnuchin lashed out at each other in the week before Election Day. A source told the Post that the White House now wants McConnell to take over negotiating with Pelosi.
In other words, we may not actually be seeing meaningful progress on stimulus check 2 any time soon.
As Washington Post reporter Erica Werner tweeted on Friday, "So after a week off from stimulus negotiations, we're back to McConnell saying 'go small' and Pelosi saying 'go big.' Almost like nothing has really changed and maybe it hasn't."
So after a week off from stimulus negotiations, we're back to McConnell saying "go small" and Pelosi saying "go big." Almost like nothing has really changed and maybe it hasn't.November 6, 2020