Stimulus update: How soon after the election could extra unemployment or second checks pass?

Election Day is a mere four days away, and the good people in Washington have failed to pass a stimulus bill for coronavirus relief. In fact, they can’t even agree on what a stimulus package might include. With no hope for a pre-election deal, here’s the latest update on how things might play out after November 3.


Confident that former Vice President Joe Biden will win the election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that she is committed to passing a stimulus package during the lame duck session, which is after the election but before the new Congress begins. Her ability to do so depends on the outcome of the election—and the extent to which President Trump cooperates. We see three likely outcomes:

  1. If Democrats sweep: An enormous stimulus bill would likely pass in late January, just following Inauguration Day (January 20). If Democrats know they can provide the large-scale aid bill they want in January, it would make little sense for them to compromise heavily in November or December to push a bill through the Republican-controlled Senate.
  2. If Republicans keep control of the Senate: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds the power here. Both sides would be under extreme public pressure to pass a stimulus bill during the lame duck period, which may or may not happen. If McConnell seems to be marshaling his troops soon after the election, then it will happen. If not, then negotiations will continue into the new administration.


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