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Second stimulus check: McConnell just shared update on timing

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, in March 2014.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, in March 2014. (Image credit: Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock)

Despite hopes from lawmakers of both parties for stimulus relief in the weeks after Election Day, Americans may not see a deal — or another $1,200 check — before January. 

In a radio appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show this past Friday (Oct. 30), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) suggested that the Senate would wait to take action on a pared-down stimulus bill until early 2021, CNBC reports

"We probably need to do another package, certainly more modest than the $3 trillion Nancy Pelosi package," McConnell said. "I think that'll be something we'll need to do right at the beginning of the year." (The most recent proposal from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) actually sought $2.2 trillion in stimulus spending.)

The majority leader's remarks are in contrast with those of other GOP lawmakers, several of whom said last week that the were open to considering a bill once the pressure of the election had passed. 

President Trump has also called for quick action, telling reporters Friday that, "we will have a tremendous stimulus package immediately after the election."

Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has said she is optimistic about an agreement in the coming weeks. She has been in off-and-on talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been negotiating on behalf of the White House and Republicans in general. 

"We don't want to have to wait that long, because people have needs," Pelosi told MSNBC

Observers have already noted that big bills can be hard to sell in the weeks leading up to Election Day, so the next steps for stimulus check 2 may largely depend on what happens on Nov. 3. 

What's on the table? 

So far, the White House has inched closer to the Democrats' $2.2 trillion HEROES Act package, which includes stimulus check 2. The two sides are still debating issues such as the amount of aid for state and local governments and whether to include liability protections for businesses against coronavirus-related lawsuits. 

The Senate, meanwhile, has held two procedural votes on separate but similar $500 billion "skinny" bills. Neither bill included stimulus check 2, and both were blocked by Democrats. Congressional Republicans all along have pushed for smaller relief packages than what Pelosi and Mnuchin have discussed.