Democrats Release Smaller $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Proposal In Final Bid For Compromise Before Election Day
House Democrats on Monday evening released a pared-down version of the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act, which was passed by the House in May but never taken up by the Senate, in what’s intended as a “proffer” for Republicans to return to the negotiating table in the final days before lawmakers return home ahead of November’s election, and allowing vulnerable House Democrats to vote in support of more relief measures ahead of the election even if Republicans don’t buy in.
The $2.2 trillion legislation includes new provisions like aid for airlines and restaurants and more money for schools and childcare.
The plan also retains the key benefits from the original Heroes Act, including a second round of stimulus checks, $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits, and more aid for state and local governments.
House Democrats reduced the size of the original package they approved in May by more than $1 trillion by shortening the length of the benefits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday in a letter to colleagues.
The House is preparing to vote on the package as soon as Wednesday, Politico reported, if Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can’t come to a separate agreement before then.
Mnuchin has repeatedly said that both he and President Trump believe another stimulus package is necessary, but the White House, Democrats and Republicans have yet to come to an agreement on the price tag.
The White House has indicated that it will back a bill worth up to $1.5 trillion, and the Senate GOP has so far been unwilling to support a plan worth more than about $1 trillion.
After speaking with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday, Pelosi said Monday that she remains “hopeful” and “optimistic” that a deal on a fresh round of federal coronavirus aid is possible. The pair are also scheduled to speak Monday night. Pelosi also acknowledged the multibillion-dollar gulf that still remains between the White House and her Democratic caucus, saying that White House negotiators led by Mnuchin would need to “come back with much more money” in order to reach a compromise Democrats are prepared to accept. Earlier this month, Senate Republicans tried to pass a plan that would have allocated $300 billion for new relief spending, but Democrats blocked it because it wasn’t large enough.
“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats on Monday evening. “We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”
Not everyone is optimistic about a stimulus deal before Election Day. Analysts at Goldman Sachs are maintaining that more aid is likely “on hold” until the end of the year.
Stimulus Update: House Democrats Considering New, Smaller Relief Package (Forbes)
Stimulus Bill Before Election Day? Unlikely, Wall Street Says (Forbes)
Kudlow—Contradicting Other Top Officials—Says Stimulus Not Needed For Economic Recovery (Forbes)
Pelosi Doubles Down On $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Compromise: ‘It’s Hard To See How We Can Go Any Lower’ (Forbes)