Personal Finance

Here's how long it could take for Americans to get more government help if stimulus talks fail

Key Points
  • As Election Day nears, Washington lawmakers are hard at work to see if they can finally come to an agreement on another coronavirus stimulus aid package.
  • The legislation could include enhanced federal unemployment benefits and a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
  • Whether Americans have to wait weeks or months for that money will depend on the House, Senate and White House coming to a compromise.
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Washington lawmakers are hard at work to see if they can come to a compromise this week to finalize the next coronavirus stimulus relief package.

The numbers continue to be a sticking point

House Democrats recently passed a $2.2 trillion updated HEROES Act. The White House has offered $1.8 trillion in aid, though the administration has signaled it could go higher.

But it remains to be seen how the Republican-controlled Senate would receive such a proposal. The Senate plans to vote on its own $500 billion aid package on Wednesday.

VIDEO2:5202:52
House speaker Pelosi gives White House a 48-hour deadline to reach stimulus deal

The clock is ticking, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said this weekend she is giving lawmakers 48 hours to reach a compromise. That follows weeks of back-and-forth discussions between her and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The outcome of this week's talks will decide whether Americans receive more aid, including enhanced federal unemployment insurance and a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, now or whether they will have to wait until after the election.

What if a deal doesn't happen now?

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speak to the media after meeting with the US Senate Minority Leader and House Speaker on coronavirus relief at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on August 7, 2020.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The stakes are high. If Republicans and Democrats are unable to strike a deal now, it could be a long wait before more aid is finalized.

If current efforts are not successful, negotiations could get pushed back until after the election in a lame-duck bill, according to Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James.

Congress also will need to revisit government funding before Dec. 11 in order to prevent a shutdown. More stimulus aid could happen then.

There is also the possibility that lawmakers would hold off until after the inauguration.

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At that point, something might not come together until February or March — one full year from when the CARES Act was passed, Mills noted.

The outcome of the November election could be a key influence on the fate of more aid.

"The view I have is the Trump reelection gets the money the fastest, and a Democratic sweep is the outcome that provides the most amount of funding," Mills said.

How much assistance could Americans receive?

Sarah Casillas | DigitalVision | Getty Images

One of the sticking points in the negotiations is how much direct money to provide to Americans.

Both parties want to send another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. Democrats want to make everyone with a taxpayer identification number is eligible, rather than the Social Security number requirement included with the first checks. That could help those who were left out of those payments. Republicans largely disagree with that, Mills said.

"This injects immigration politics into the debate," Mills said.

Democrats have also proposed $600 per week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits through January.

Republicans, meanwhile, have advocated for reduced enhanced payments through December.

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Here are the chances you'll get another $1,200 stimulus check