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Stimulus bill deadline: What happens now with unemployment benefits, eviction relief and a second check?



The Aug. 7 deadline for the next stimulus bill has passed, but that doesn’t mean talks are over yet.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Friday’s self-imposed deadline saw no agreement between Democrats and Republicans on another stimulus package to help Americans weather the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, an outbreak experts warn will only worsen. Negotiators were unable to find common ground on issues like enhanced unemployment benefits, extending a moratorium on evictions and the amount of relief aid offered to states and local governments as part of the Republican-authored HEALS Act.

President Donald Trump has said he could issue an executive order to push a few specific relief measures through. The latest from Washington is that Trump might seek to repurpose funds that Congress allocated for coronavirus relief this year that haven’t yet been spent by states or federal agencies, according to administration officials. 

Trump said his administration is working in “good faith” to reach an agreement with Democratic leaders. As such, he could hold off on signing an executive order until next week, though White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have recommended that Trump move forward with executive action this weekend.

So, what now — have the talks collapsed or is there still hope for an agreement? What could Trump’s executive order entail? Here’s what we know today. This story updates often as the news develops. 

Scenario 1: A stimulus bill agreement happens next week

The House and White House negotiators tackling the details of the stimulus proposal have signaled a willingness to continue talks — as long as both sides budge. (More below for what’s holding up the talks.)

“The president would like us to make a deal, but unfortunately, we did not make any progress today,” Mnuchin said Friday. “To the extent that they are willing to make new proposals,  [White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows] and I will be back any time to listen to new proposals.”

If negotiations continue for the second straight weekend, or if talks pick up again on Monday, the legislation could presumably go to a vote in one chamber as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. Both chambers must vote before the legislation lands on President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. If it follows the timeline for the CARES Act, the bill became law within three days after the Senate voted.

When could the stimulus bill pass?

House votes Senate votes President signs
Timeline no. 1: Legislation passes next week Aug. 11 Aug. 12 Aug. 13
Aug. 12 Aug. 13 Aug. 14
Aug. 13 Aug. 14 Aug. 17
Aug. 14 Aug. 17 Aug. 18

Scenario 2: No deal and Trump signs an executive order

Trump’s advisors are encouraging the president to take executive action on an eviction moratorium, extending the enhanced federal unemployment benefits and providing student loan relief. A payroll tax cut — another agenda item favored by Trump for the stimulus bill but dropped by the Senate and his negotiators — may also be in the mix, CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang tweeted Friday. 

The executive orders would bypass the negotiations currently taking place between the House and the administration. They could be signed as soon as the end of the week, Trump said Friday in a press conference, adding, “They’re being drawn by the lawyers right now.” When asked if he was concerned about the legality of the executive action, the president said, “No, not at all … well, you always get sued. Everything you do, you get sued.”

It’s possible that Trump could seek to use funds that Congress allocated for coronavirus relief this year that haven’t yet been spent by states or federal agencies, according to administration officials. Since any move to reprogram unspent federal dollars for unemployment could be challenged legally, the executive order could further stall the stimulus package delivery. 

Scenario 3: No deal, talks stop, no executive order

Another option, which could devastate millions of Americans, is that there is no deal at all. This could happen if both sides refuse to compromise on the main sticking points in the bill and if the president takes no action. The bill could also die if, after a deal is reached, the Republican-led Senate votes it down after a Democratic-led House vote. 


The end of all talks will be devastating to millions of Americans.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What’s holding up the stimulus deal?

The Senate, House of Representatives and White House all agree a second stimulus check that will send payments directly to Americans is essential to help turn the current recession around. 

The problem is that Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on how much help is needed. 

“There are a lot of areas of compromise,” Mnuchin said Friday after another round of talks on the bill. “If we can reach an agreement on state and local and unemployment, we will reach an overall deal. And if we can’t, we can’t.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats have attempted compromise, but haven’t been met by Republicans.

“I offered to them, we’ll take down a trillion if you add a trillion in,” Pelosi said late Friday. “They said, ‘Absolutely not.””  

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi’s sentiments for compromise on the bill Schumer said that the House is Democratic and need a majority of Democratic votes in the Senate.

“Meet us in the middle — for God’s sake, please — for the sake of America, meet us in the middle,” Schumer said on Friday. 

All this factors into the cost of the overall stimulus package. The Senate’s HEALS Act would cost $1 trillion, while the House Democrats stipulated $3 trillion total in its Heroes Act proposal from May. (The CARES Act, which delivered $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans earlier this year, was worth $2.2 trillion.)


Democrats and Republicans have been disagreeing on how much relief aid should be included in the stimulus package. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

What else could delay the stimulus package?

After the House votes, the Senate might disagree with certain parts of the bill. If that happens, the Senate can send the bill back to the House with changes and ask Pelosi and 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. 

There could also be further delays if Trump moves to repurpose unspent federal dollars for unemployment and it’s challenged legally.

For more information, we’ve looked at how soon you might get your second stimulus check and compared the HEALS, CARES and Heroes stimulus proposals.

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