Second stimulus checks: With the election over, are we closer to $1,200 payments?

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Ahead of the election, President Donald Trump guaranteed stimulus would flow if he won the election. On the other side of things, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hoped to get coronavirus relief passed ahead of a potential Joe Biden inauguration.

With Biden the projected victor, Pelosi will likely spring into action to try and come to terms on a deal. However, that doesn’t look likely with Trump refusing to concede the election. By all accounts, the GOP’s chief negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is now out of the mix leaving Pelosi to try and come to terms with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

If Friday is any indication of things to come, we could be in for a rocky road.

The respective leaders tussled over stimulus goals Friday with McConnell eyeing another “skinny” approach and Pelosi basically saying “no chance.”

Speaking to reporters, McConnell said any package should be “highly targeted towards things that are directly related to the coronavirus, which we all know is not going away until we get a vaccine.”

Pelosi, who has long said she isn’t interested in a smaller deal, said she’ll only sign off on a deal that aims to “crush” the virus.

“That isn’t anything that we should even be looking at, it wasn’t the right thing to do before,” she said.

Previous packages pushed by McConnell have run about $500 billion and have not included $1,200 direct payments to Americans. Pelosi, on the other hand, has been looking for a deal closer to $2.2 trillion that would include that additional round of checks.

At issue is a huge virus relief bill that would send another payment, restart bonus unemployment benefits, fund additional testing and vaccines, provide aid to schools and allocate money to state and local governments, a Democratic priority.

A $1.8 trillion rescue plan in March passed virtually unanimously. The larger Pelosi-pushed package today has run into resolute opposition from Republicans. Taking care of the issue would clear the decks for a fresh start on the congressional agenda next year.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell continued to push for new relief saying last week, “I think we’ll have a stronger recovery if we can just get at least some more fiscal support.”

If no agreement can be reached in the next few months, a deal will fall on Biden’s new administration. Economic recovery is listed as one of his “day one priorities” on the Biden-Harris transition website. There is no direct mention of stimulus checks on the economic recovery plan outlined.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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