Senate Republicans failed to advance their largely symbolic $500 billion "skinny" stimulus package last week, but some GOP lawmakers hope that the 52-47 vote in favor of the legislation will put pressure on Democrats to get moving on negotiations to provide additional relief and bring stimulus check 2 closer to reality.
The Hill reports that the GOP wants to put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the hot seat to protect Democrats who are vulnerable in the upcoming election and who may need to pass a new coronavirus-relief bill to keep their seats.
- Stimulus check 2 update: Status, latest news and how much you could get
- Plus: Second stimulus check isn't dead yet — here's the possible date
Some Democrats are, indeed, getting restless — a group of lawmakers signed a letter last month asking Pelosi to push negotiations forward.
Pelosi has said she's still confident that a deal will be reached.
"I'm completely optimistic," Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Friday (Sept. 11). "I'm optimistic. I do think we should have an agreement, that's what we all want."
Second stimulus check: What proposals are there?
House Democrats passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act in May, but Republicans balked at spending that much on a second round of relief and countered with the $1.1 trillion HEALS Act in July.
One sticking point involves the size and duration of federal unemployment-benefit supplements. The Democrats want to keep them at $600 per week, while the GOP's HEALS Act wants to cut them down to $200 per week..
Negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have brought the two sides closer -- Democrats dropped the cost of their legislation to $2.2 trillion and the White House said it could increase its offer to $1.5 trillion -- but they've been unable to bridge the $700 billion spending gap.
Meanwhile, the official Senate GOP "skinny" bill and a different "skinny" bill proposed by some House Democrats sought to focus on the non-stimulus-check aspects of coronavirus relief.
Unfortunately, stimulus check 2 may have been lost in the fray. Although all sides initially agreed on the need for a second direct payment and even reached a consensus on the amount and the option to expand dependent benefits, none of the recent "skinny" proposals have included a $1,200 check.
Democratic lawmakers counter that their firm positions will coax Republicans back to the talks.
"Each time [Senate Majority Leader MItch] McConnell said 'it's our bill or nothing,'" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) told The Hill, "they came back and we actually got some bipartisan stuff done."
Did you get your first stimulus check?
While most eligible Americans have already received the payment provided by the CARES Act, there could be as many as 9 million people who are still owed up to $1,200. The IRS is planning to notify individuals later this month, and those who qualify for benefits have until Oct. 15 to provide their information via the non-filer tool.
If you haven't received your first check but believe you're eligible, you can look up the status using the IRS's Get My Payment app.