Chances for another round of stimulus checks “practically nil,” Grassley says

The prospects for another coronavirus stimulus bill are low as Republicans and Democrats fail to negotiate a deal.


Katie Goodale

U.S Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with the Daily Iowan staff after a visit to Mercy Hospital on July 2, 2019.

Caleb McCullough, Politics Editor

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Congress is unlikely to come to an agreement on another coronavirus stimulus bill before they adjourn in October as negotiations have again hit an impasse over the price tag of the legislation.

“As of now, as I see it, two weeks before adjournment, it’s practically nil,” Grassley said of the likelihood of passing another bill in a press conference Wednesday.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers released a $1.5 trillion plan yesterday that would include a second round of stimulus checks, increased unemployment insurance, and relief to states and cities.

House Democratic leaders rejected the bill on the grounds that it was not enough, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, is holding fast to a $2.2 trillion price tag, The Hill reported on Tuesday.

“A skinny deal is a Republican bill, that’s not a deal at all,” Pelosi told CNBC on Tuesday.

Pelosi also said the House will stay in session until an agreement is made on a bill.

While Grassley said the White House may be in favor of spending as much as $1.5 trillion, he didn’t say whether or not he would vote for such legislation.

President Trump signaled support for higher spending on a bill in a tweet Wednesday morning, telling Republicans to “Go for the much higher numbers.”

Grassley said the $500 billion to state and local governments allocated in the bipartisan House bill was too much, and that many states had still not spent all the money doled out in the CARES Act in March. He said Republicans would be willing to spend as much as $150 billion on state and local governments.

“We see that as a bailout of a lot of irresponsible state governments, and that would be too high of a figure,” he said. “Although I wouldn’t want to say that Republicans wouldn’t go along with some money for state and local.”

Grassley blamed Pelosi for rejecting the House bipartisan bill and not negotiating with Republicans to reach a lower cost.

“I can only see the Democrat leadership must not be very serious about lowering the price tag and making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely,” He said. “And Democrats within the House caucus are even frustrated by the lack of compromise.”

Congress is set to adjourn in the beginning of October, and lawmakers up for re-election in competitive races are anxious about returning to the campaign trail without providing another round of relief for struggling Americans.

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