White House negotiators are hurrying to reach a deal on the new stimulus package before Congress recesses for August.Sarah Tew/CNET
Today is the self-imposed deadline for Congressional Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement on the next stimulus package. Capitol Hill has seen both sides continuing to 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. While there's still time, the optimism that negotiators expressed earlier in the week has faded.
"I would say we are closer on a lot of issues. We are still very far apart on significant issues," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters on Thursday. After a three-hour meeting late Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Mnuchin's comments that the sides are still "very far apart" despite ongoing exchanges.
When the Senate gaveled in on Thursday, 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.
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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.
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Scenario 2: No deal is reached Friday, but talks continue Monday
A deal might not be reached today and, since both sides have suggested that they don't plan to adjourn for August recess, negotiations could continue Monday. In the event that discussions resume Monday and a deal is finalized 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. Trump tweeted on Thursday that he had notified his staff to continue working on an order.
Since Monday, Trump 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.
Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus standoff on Capitol Hill
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.