Democrats and Trump administration officials have yet to restart stimulus check 2 negotiations since talks fizzled out two weeks ago, but some House lawmakers are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to get moving toward a deal.
Bloomberg reports (opens in new tab) that a group of 17 House members, part of what's known as the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, have signed onto a letter (opens in new tab) putting pressure on Pelosi and the party leaders of the House and Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), to work toward a consensus when the House returns to Washington this weekend.
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"As the House prepares to vote this weekend on a bill to protect the United States Postal Service, we urge you to restart bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on a fifth Covid-19 relief package that is commensurate with the scale of this public health and economic crisis," the lawmakers wrote.
The letter urges Pelosi and the leaders of the two chambers to continue paying federal unemployment benefits (one of the stickier points of the negotiations so far) at a "sufficient" level as well as send another round of direct payments to eligible Americans.
House lawmakers passed the HEROES Act in May. That bill would provide $1,200 payments to each eligible American and their dependents of any age (up to $6,000 per family), but Democrats have been unable to reconcile the total cost of the proposal with the White House and Senate.
Senate conflicts over stimulus check 2
Senate Republicans are equally — or perhaps even more — fractured. In July, McConnell introduced the HEALS Act, which also would send another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans who qualified under the CARES Act as well as expand benefits for dependents.
Meanwhile, another group of GOP senators proposed a hybrid bill known as the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act, which reduced stimulus check 2 to $1,000 per qualifying individual at a lower income cap.
Senate Republicans are also floating a "skinny" stimulus package that continues federal unemployment benefits at a reduced rate but does not provide another direct payment.
Other lawmakers have expressed ongoing concern about too-high spending on a second stimulus bill, and Senate proposals remain at odds with those from other negotiators.
"We're pretty far apart right now," McConnell said on Thursday (opens in new tab). "I'm hoping we can get past that, but I can't predict today."
Meanwhile, 120 House Democrats (opens in new tab) urged Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steney Hoyer (D-Maryland) to consider passing a Democratic "skinny bill" (opens in new tab) promoted by another moderate group, the New Democrat Coalition.
That bill would also not provide new stimulus checks, but would resume the federal unemployment supplement at the original $600 weekly rate.