The Senate voted unanimously to inject a $2 trillion shot of crucial cash liquidity into the economy. The anxiously awaited decision means that checks to individuals and families are on the way. Government insiders agree that the stimulus package passed by the Senate will be approved by the House. If all goes well, there will be a voice vote Friday morning. After that, “I will sign it immediately” the President insists.
Senate deal passes to House
It took a week of round-the-clock wrangling before deeply divided Senators came up with a package that both sides could live with. They kept their partisan bickering behind closed doors and put the American nation ahead of the usual process of tacking on self-serving “pork” legislation. Late Wednesday they unanimously approved an anxiously awaited $2 trillion stimulus. Besides helping businesses big and small, the measure approves “$3,400 for an average American family of four.”
“Pray for one another, for all of our families and for our country,” Mitch McConnell announced. “This is a proud moment for the United States Senate and the country.” We’re “going to win this battle,” he asserts. “This is about as flawless as you could possibly be.” While the Senate clearly understands the urgency of the situation, ranking House members didn’t seem to have a clue.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nearly derailed the whole deal by insisting on a “wish list” of green extravagance “including new voting laws, collective bargaining rights for federal unions, and imposing carbon emissions caps on airlines.” Pelosi threatened to start the whole process from scratch with a separate proposal in the House. After intense behind the scenes screaming, Pelosi was convinced that now isn’t the time to take a partisan stand. With that out of the way, Senators resolved their remaining differences, struck a compromise, and showed a united front of victory to the public.
The Democrat controlled House isn’t showing the same level of decorum. Speaker Pelosi is once again placed in the role of providing some guiding discipline to rowdy freshmen lawmakers, who take themselves way too seriously. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for one.
Will Ocasio-Cortez stand in the way?
The lower house of Congress has been in recess and the representatives are scattered around the country. They can do their work from home and have a call in “voice vote” Friday morning. If they do, they are expected to follow the Senate lead to symbolically show unanimous patriotic approval. It only takes one member of the House to stop that. Two of them have threatened to make a fuss.
Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie has “problems” with the bill, but isn’t expected to block it if the majority agree. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a different story. Once again, she’s a totally loose cannon and Nancy Pelosi is scrambling to tie her down.
AOC told CNN on Wednesday that she’s thinking about demanding a roll call vote. That would mean everyone has to be in Washington to vote in person. Many lawmakers are in self-quarantine following exposures and the rest aren’t sure that they can get plane tickets. There isn’t enough support to defeat the bill in the House, so all she can do is delay the relief effort with technicalities.
Pelosi assures the public she’s working on getting everyone in agreement. She reportedly “revealed that she’s having to do some work behind the scenes to get ‘disappointed’ Democrats on board.” That would include AOC. “What is important is for us to recognize the good that is in the bill,” Pelosi soothes. “Appreciate it for what it does. Don’t judge it for what it doesn’t because we have more bills to come.”
Most likely, AOC and other finicky congress members will come to the realization that it’s not a good idea to stand between Americans and the money they need to survive. The general consensus in Washington is that by Friday morning, there will be another unanimous approval, by phone.
When will the checks go out?
The only question remaining is how fast the stimulus checks can get sent out. Americans are happy about the money that will help industries and businesses but the thing they are most concerned about is the direct stimulus checks. The deal includes “one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.”
President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are “still pushing to get the direct payments issued by April 6,” a White House official relates. “Our expectation is within three weeks we will have direct payments out where we have depository information,” Mnuchin said. “We’re looking to get a lot more information and we have procedures to do that.”
Paper checks will “take a bit longer because the Bureau of Fiscal Service can only process and push out so many paper checks a week,” the aide explains. “I think they were estimating four or five weeks to get the balance out.” We “need to get this money into the American economy and American workers,” Mnuchin affirms.