Top White House Advisor Optimistic About a Bipartisan Stimulus Deal
Is another stimulus check still on the table?
Lawmakers have been negotiating another stimulus package for months. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law back in March, but as yet, they have not been able to agree on a second package.
It's been a bumpy road -- especially in recent weeks. It appeared progress was being made at the start of October, before the president abruptly ended negotiations. Then he restarted talks and raised the amount of possible aid, bringing it closer to what the Democrats are demanding.
The good news is, there's reason to be optimistic a stimulus bill will pass sooner rather than later. This hope comes, in part, from Larry Kudlow, a top economic advisor to President Donald Trump.
The chances of a bipartisan deal are closer than ever
Both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of more coronavirus relief, including a second $1,200 check for most Americans. However, the cost of another relief bill remains the biggest source of conflict.
Democrats insist they want large-scale aid, with any legislation carrying a price tag of $2.2 trillion or higher. Republican Senators, however, have indicated they'd prefer to cap any subsequent bills at $1 trillion. The White House initially said it would be willing to offer up to $1.5 trillion.
President Trump appears to have abandoned this cap, though. The White House's most recent offer was for a $1.8 trillion stimulus bill and the president said on the Rush Limbaugh show that he was willing to go much bigger. In fact, he said he'd prefer to offer more stimulus than either the Democrats or the Republicans had put on the table thus far.
Several GOP Senators reportedly expressed significant concerns about supporting such a large bill. But Kudlow told CNN on Sunday, "I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it."
Kudlow pointed to the fact Republicans united around their own bill a few weeks ago, which received 53 votes in the Senate. He said he believes those on the right are likely to unite around a deal again, if one arises. In fact, Kudlow suggested that if the president's team can come to an agreement with Democrats, another bill is all but guaranteed to pass. "I think if we could get this thing settled on the Democrat side, we will get it settled on the Republican side," he said.
Kudlow also made clear that negotiations were ongoing. He thought it possible the president would go beyond the current $1.8 trillion proposal currently on the table to provide aid for the unemployed and for small businesses, and stimulus checks to Americans.
For their part, some progressives in Congress have signaled they might support an "imperfect" bill even if it doesn't address all their key priorities. A growing number of both centrist lawmakers as well as those who are further on the left believe that it would be better to get some type of relief passed even if it doesn't provide everything they want. They don't want struggling Americans to wait until after the election -- or perhaps even until February if no stimulus agreement is reached before a transfer of power occurs.
The gap between the White House's offer and the Democrats' demands has already narrowed dramatically, which seems to put a deal between the Trump administration and those on the left within reach. If Kudlow is right and Senate Republicans fall in line to support whatever proposal the Trump administration puts forth with Democratic support, Americans could see more money in their bank accounts. And that money might even come before the Nov. 3 election.
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