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Stimulus deal hangs by a thread: 4 things that could happen if negotiators miss today’s deadline – CNET

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White House negotiators are hurrying to reach a deal on the new stimulus package before Congress recesses for August.
Sarah Tew/CNET

With Friday’s negotiations on the next stimulus package breaking down without an agreement, White House and Democratic negotiators are left considering their next moves and what other options are in front of them.

Both sides still disagree on issues like enhanced unemployment benefits, extending a moratorium on evictions, and the amount of relief aid offered in the Republican-authored HEALS Act.

“I think there are a lot of areas of compromise,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday following another round of talks on the bill. “I think if we can reach an agreement on state and local and unemployment, we will reach an overall deal. And if we can’t, we can’t,” Mnuchin said.

While there’s still time, the two sides seem very far apart. “I offered to them, we’ll take down a trillion if you add a trillion in,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday. “They said, absolutely not. If we could do that, we’ll be within range.”

With the hope of still reaching an agreement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber will convene on Monday instead of adjourning for its scheduled August recess. The House of Representatives gaveled in on Friday morning.

Here’s what the next few days could look like for the HEALS Act if the White House, Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement on the proposed legislation.

Scenario 1: An agreement is reached late Friday

This seems like an unlikely scenario given the stalemate on enhanced unemployment benefits (the Democrats want to extend the $600-a-week allowance; the Republicans would like it reduced to $200), but last-minute political agreements have been known to happen.

If it does, the legislation could presumably go to a vote in one chamber as soon as Monday or Tuesday. Both chambers must vote before the legislation lands on President Donald Trump’s desk for signing. If we look at the timeline for the CARES Act, after the Senate voted, the bill became law within three days.

When could you get your check?

House votes Senate votes President signs
Timeline no. 1: Legislation passes next week Aug. 10 Aug. 11 Aug. 12
Aug. 11 Aug. 12 Aug. 13
Aug. 12 Aug. 13 Aug. 14
Aug. 14 Aug. 17 Aug. 18

Scenario 2: No deal is reached Friday, but talks continue Monday

If a deal is not reached today, negotiations could continue Monday. In the event that discussions resume Monday and a deal is completed next week, the bill could be signed by Trump as early as Aug. 13.

Scenario 3: No deal, and Trump takes executive action

In the event that a deal on the new package isn’t reached today, the president has said he’s prepared to take executive action. And Mnuchin said Trump will consider that option this weekend.

Since Monday, the president has said he could seek executive action to prevent people from being evicted from their homes, suspend payroll taxes and extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits.

Scenario 4: No deal, and talks stop

Another option, which could be devastating for millions of Americans, is that the deal falls through entirely. This could happen if both sides refuse to compromise on sticking points in the bill. The bill could also die if, after a deal is reached, the Senate votes it down after the House vote.

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Stimulus standoff on Capitol Hill

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What else could delay the stimulus package?

After the House votes, the Senate might disagree with a certain part of the bill. If this happens, the Senate can send the bill back to the House to further discuss changes and ask the House to agree with those changes. If either the House and the Senate disagree with some portion of a bill, they can call for further negotiations to get a final version.

Once the Senate secures a full vote and passes the bill, the legislation moves to Trump’s desk. In the typical lawmaking process, the president has 10 days to either sign or veto the bill. It’s unlikely Trump will wait to sign the bill once it reaches him, since he signed the CARES Act about a day after the Senate passed it.

For more information, find out how soon you might get your second stimulus check and the main differences between the HEALS, CARES and Heroes stimulus proposals.

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