Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s August 7 deadline is days away, but White House Democrats and Republicans have not yet reached an agreement on the next stimulus package. McConnell has calculated that an agreement on another stimulus proposal will be approved this Friday, the last day before the Senate’s schedule of month-long withdrawals. The Senate unveiled the HEALS Act on July 27, leaving only 11 days to negotiate an agreement.
McConnell had previously stressed that the Senate will not work on its August break, which begins after this week. But with negotiations moving forward, the House, Senate and White House could miss the deadline without reaching agreement.
The latest news from Washington on Wednesday is that if a consensus is reached within the Friday deadline, Congress can vote next week. What can happen if it is not possible to make a settlement then? Here are some options.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are likely to delay the selection
Since the Senate recess in August is scheduled to begin on August 7, both McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi can push back the recess so work can continue on the package.
On Friday, while on the floor, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House would remain in session until a settlement on the stimulus package could be reached, which could potentially depart from the August recess.
The president could issue an executive order
On August 3, President Donald Trump told reporters that if no agreement was reached on the stimulus package, he could take executive action to prevent people from being evicted from their homes, turn off payroll taxes and extend improved federal unemployment benefits. Trump said he had the power to order the Treasury Department to collect payroll taxes.
During a press conference on August 4, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she could not say what the president’s executive action on the stimulus package would look like.
Congress can resign without resolution, but unlikely
It is technically possible – but not likely – that an agreement will not be reached on 7 August and the in-depth study will begin according to schedule. In that case, the House and Senate will return from their September 8 break and resume negotiations.
For more information, check out the current update on rent relief and landlord laws and HEALS vs. CARES vs. Heroes Stimulus Package: Important Differences Between Republican and Democratic Proposals.