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Will House Democrats be able to revive $1,200 stimulus checks?

September 23, 2020, 2:11 PM UTC

Those beloved stimulus checks may not be dead yet.

Republicans and Democrats had reached an impasse in negotiations over a broader stimulus package earlier in the summer—one thought to be made even worse by the political posturing surrounding the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday. But there were glimmers of hope yesterday that Democrats may still push for stimulus checks, and that Republicans might be receptive too.

During a House hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin yesterday, several members queried the men about more stimulus.

Memorably, Al Green (D-TX) quipped: “The economic impact payments must be made because the rent must be paid.”

According to CNBC, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) asked point blank: “Yes or no, do you believe another stimulus check could help stabilize the economy?” “I do,” Mnuchin said. “The administration does support another stimulus payment.” Powell also expressed agreement that the economy needed more help from the government.

But neither Democratic nor Republican leaders support passing a second round of stimulus checks in a stand-alone bill. Instead, it would be through a broad stimulus package, on issue on which the two parties are still $900 billion apart: Democrats are pushing for a package worth $2.2 trillion, and the White House is at $1.3 trillion.

The good news? The first hurdle to restarting stimulus negations was cleared Tuesday when Democratic and Republican leaders came to terms on a stop-gap funding bill that would avert a government shutdown at the end of September. The bad news? It’s unclear when or if the negotiations will restart.

Earlier this summer, another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans was one of the few issues the two parties agreed on. But they clashed on other issues such as aid to states (which the Republicans balked at) and the size of the overall package.

Last week President Trump voiced support for a bipartisan compromise that did include $1,200 checks. The Problem Solvers Caucus proposal in addition included $450 in weekly enhanced unemployment benefits, and $500 billion for state and local government funding. But the government aid portion proposed was well below the $1 trillion Democratic leaders are seeking.