Chances of a second $ 1,200 stimulus check continue to drop

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For the millions of Americans waiting for another stimulus check this winter, the news is not good: those $ 1,200 checks might not come.

Tuesday, a group of bipartisan senators, including Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Joe Manchin announced a $ 908 billion stimulus proposal. The bill includes things like improved unemployment insurance and state funding, but it does not include another round of $ 1,200 stimulus checks.

In a surprise gesture, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was open to the $ 908 billion package, saying so “Should be used as a base” for the advancement of the negotiations, although she had been a firm advocate for a multibillion dollar package for months. It is also the first time Pelosi has expressed support for a bill that did not include stimulus checks.

This means Republican and Democratic leaders appear poised to back a no-check package – a notable change given that Pelosi and President Trump backed another round of checks in pre-election negotiations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who took over from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as chief negotiator in the talks, is still vying for a smaller bill without direct payments. The White House reaffirmed on Thursday he supported McConnell’s plan. And if a bill passes this year, it will need McConnell’s approval.

McConnell bypassed his version of the next stimulus package Tuesday, but with a much lower price: Several hundred billion less, in fact. Like the bipartisan bill, McConnell’s plan would also not include stimulus checks.

One reason why stimulus controls are on the chopping block? Hurry up. Congress has until Dec. 11 to pass a spending bill to fund the government, and analysts and economists say passing a “bridge” stimulus bill will be key to helping the unemployed and small businesses to survive until a vaccine can be widely distributed next year. Simply put: So far, Democratic leaders seem poised to sacrifice some spending items in order to rally more tax-conservative Senate Republicans and push something through this month.

Still, a December stimulus package doesn’t completely rule out another round of checks in 2021. If Democrats win the two Senate seats on their way to the second round of elections in Georgia on January 5, they would take control of the Senate and have the power to pass another could include direct payments. But if Republicans retain the Senate, the chances of another stimulus check would likely be dead.

Like Tom Porcelli, Chief US Economist at RBC Capital Markets, recently said Fortune: “I think [more stimulus checks are] is going to be a very tough sale. If you have a Republican Senate, I think it’s almost a no-beginner.

More to read absolutely financial cover of Fortune:

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