Focused first on the general election and then on baseless attempts to reverse its outcome, Mr. Trump has largely been sidelined from the negotiations, instead dispatching Mr. Mnuchin as his main emissary.
During a private meeting with top Republicans and top Democrats to discuss the emerging relief deal, Ms. Pelosi at one point pressed Mr. Mnuchin, on speaker phone in her conference room, four times to articulate the president’s position on direct payments. “Come on, Steven,” she said when he refused to say, according to one person familiar with the meeting, who disclosed it on the condition of anonymity.
Now, in undercutting the negotiations that Mr. Mnuchin led for the White House and throwing passage of the $2.3 trillion package into limbo with little warning to top Republicans on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump has increased the likelihood that the party will bear the brunt of the blame for the continuing delay in providing relief to Americans.
The coronavirus relief package would provide the first significant infusion of federal aid since April, when Mr. Trump signed a $1.4 trillion government funding package. In rejecting it, the president would also derail some of his own priorities tucked into the measure, like funding for his wall at the southwestern border, funding for the Pentagon and an agreement to ban surprise medical bills, which his administration had previously urged lawmakers to pass. A number of the funding provisions Mr. Trump singled out in the catchall omnibus also aligned with requests he had made in his own budget proposal.
Republicans would again be forced to choose between their party’s leadership in Congress — Mr. McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who helped negotiate the final details of the stimulus deal — and a president known to savage anyone he views as disloyal.
Mr. Trump’s demands also provided a political gift to Democratic leadership, who have faced criticism for accepting a $900 billion relief package with $600 direct payments after months of pushing multiple multitrillion-dollar proposals that would have set the payments to twice that amount.
Lawmakers agreed to a plan to issue stimulus payments of $600 and distribute a federal unemployment benefit of $300 for 11 weeks. You can find more about the bill and what’s in it for you here.
- Will I receive another stimulus payment? Individual adults with adjusted gross income on their 2019 tax returns of up to $75,000 a year would receive a $600 payment, and heads of households making up to $112,500 and a couple (or someone whose spouse died in 2020) earning up to $150,000 a year would get twice that amount. If they have dependent children, they would also get $600 for each child. People with incomes just above these levels would receive a partial payment that declines by $5 for every $100 in income.
- When might my payment arrive? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he expected the first payments to go out before the end of the year. But it will be a while before all eligible people receive their money.
- Does the agreement affect unemployment insurance? Lawmakers agreed to extend the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits and restart an extra federal benefit that is provided on top of the usual state benefit. But instead of $600 a week, it would be $300. That would last through March 14.
- I am behind on my rent or expect to be soon. Will I receive any relief? The agreement would provide $25 billion to be distributed through state and local governments to help renters who have fallen behind. To receive assistance, households would have to meet several conditions: Household income (for 2020) cannot exceed more than 80 percent of the area median income; at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability; and individuals must qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship — directly or indirectly — because of the pandemic. The agreement said assistance would be prioritized for families with lower incomes and that have been unemployed for three months or more.
With the House set to convene on Christmas Eve in a so-called pro forma session — typically a brief meeting that requires one lawmaker to be present and lasts for a few minutes — Democrats plan to bring up a stand-alone bill that would provide for $2,000 direct payments to American families and ensure that the omnibus is signed. Should that request fail without unanimous consent, Democrats plan to formally bring the bill up for a vote on Monday, according to two people familiar with the plans.