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When to Expect the Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

Michael Rainey
·2 min read

When can Americans expect to see the next coronavirus relief bill, which is expected to include as much as $2 trillion in aid for the unemployed, state and local governments, small businesses and efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic? The main players in Washington sent mixed signals Friday, suggesting it could be weeks before any progress is made.

President Trump repeated his claim that he expected a “tremendous” coronavirus relief package to come “immediately after the election,” but the lawmakers who will make or break the deal appear to have different plans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Friday that he expects to address another round of Covid-related spending “right at the beginning of the year,” and that the legislation would focus on aid to small businesses and hospitals facing a resurgence of the virus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she was in more of a hurry, telling MSNBC that she wanted to have a bill passed before the presidential inauguration in January, adding that “we don’t want to have to wait that long, because people have needs.”

Is a deal even possible? A senior GOP aide told The Hill conditions on Capitol Hill could well improve after the election, with Republicans less worried about angering their supporters by making a deal with Pelosi that involves spending on Democratic priorities such as aid for state and local governments. At the same time, Democrats will lose their motivation to deny Trump a victory by passing a bill, making it easier for both sides to come to an agreement.

“The motivation level on both sides will depend on how the election comes out, but I think either way we’ll do something. The question is how much,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said.

But others have their doubts. A Democratic aide said that Republicans wouldn’t have much interest in making a deal if Democrats record big gains in the election. “I don’t think there is a package, period, if they lose,” the source told The Hill. Instead, the aide expected Republicans to return to the same stance they took with President Obama, refusing to pass a substantial relief package in the name of fiscal austerity.

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