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On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called for the House of Representatives to go back into session as early as next week to address the ongoing United States Postal Service (USPS) crisis. The Senate initially adjourned Thursday after the House adjourned on July 31. The Senate and House had plans to be on recess until Sept. 8 and Sept. 14, respectively. However, Pelosi recently wrote in a letter to Congress that the House of Representatives needs to end recess because she believes American lives and democracy are “under threat from the president.”
Additionally, as Congress adjourned, many Americans were left wondering if they would receive a second stimulus check. Could a limited congressional package combine additional aid for the Postal Service with a second stimulus check, unemployment benefits, and an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program? According to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, it could happen.
In an interview on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had stated he wants to work toward legislation on USPS funding and stimulus relief. Meadows said, “If we can agree on postal, let’s do it. If we can agree on stimulus checks, let’s do it.”
For several years, the USPS has dealt with financial issues, and additional congressional funding could potentially save the USPS. The timing could be especially important this year with many Americans likely voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alongside possible USPS funding could arrive something that the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House all agree on: a second $1,200 stimulus check. What they had disagreed on was an overall stimulus package, and this disagreement delayed Americans from receiving certain forms of COVID-19 relief. Democratic leaders originally sought $3.4 trillion in COVID-19 relief funding and lowered their offer to $2 trillion. However, Republicans refused to agree to more than $1 trillion in funding. House Speaker Pelosi said the two sides could not make a deal unless the Republicans added an additional $1 trillion in aid to their bill.
Congressional Republicans want to expand the HEALS Act, which would allow dependents to qualify for a stimulus payment. The Democrats’ counterproposal, the HEROES Act, would give even more money to dependents. Additionally, immigrants with taxpayer identification numbers would qualify for a stimulus check.
In regards to perceived congressional inaction, Senator Bernie Sanders, D-VT, said on Sunday, “We have a crisis now. It’s a crisis in democracy. It’s a crisis that so many of our working families are struggling. Congress has got to act.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, said that the IRS could start printing stimulus checks the week after President Donald Trump signs Congress’s stimulus package into law. In this scenario, Americans who qualify for the second stimulus check would receive checks faster than they did for the first stimulus check, which was issued through the CARES Act.
Although it’s uncertain when Americans will receive a second stimulus check, it could take a few weeks based on the CARES Act timeline. Talks on USPS funding legislation and possible talks about the stimulus bill are expected to start on Saturday after the Democratic National Convention, which began yesterday and runs through Thursday.