Lawmakers in both the Senate and House of Representatives have largely returned to their home states for the August recess. This happened after several weeks of negotiations. Nevertheless, there will most probably be no movement towards the next stimulus package until their return in September.
There were reports that the House might return amid the week for August 24th to hold a hearing concerning the state of the USPS (United States Postal Service). The United States Postal Service has long been dealing with financial issues. Moreover, they have been dealing with upcoming elections and there is a much heavier reliance on voting with mail because of the pandemic. As a result, it has been the recipient of a lot of attention recently.
Louis DeJoy is Postmaster General and assumed the office in June. Much of the attention has been on his actions. You may recognize that aid to the USPS has taken up a significant role in the talks, for those following the stimulus package negotiations.
The Cares Act authorized the United States Postal Service to borrow up to $10 billion from the Treasury. Nevertheless, Democrats have been seeking to get additional aid in the next bill. The House passed the Heroes Act in May. This Act would have originally given the United States Postal Service a $25 billion grant. There were reports that Democrats lowered the amount to $10 billion, in negotiations.
The president has been against additional support for the Postal Service. This has seemingly been a contentious issue.
Nevertheless, the circumstances appear to have changed.
On CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ today, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that the president would sign a limited stimulus bill in which some aid for the Postal Service could be put forth with a stimulus check, an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, and an enhanced federal unemployment benefit.
Furthermore, he added that they had got a lot of people that are hurting out there. The voting issue is vital. He said that if the Democrats feel like that is a big issue (Meadows talked to some of the more moderate Democrats and a few progressives), and if it is a big deal, let them put it forward with a stimulus check towards Americans. He added that they should put it with enhanced unemployment extensions. In his own words, let them put it with small business reform in terms of the purchasing power parity and extending that. Furthermore, Meadows added that the president would sign such a bill.
The Democrats had called for $600 per week in enhanced benefits through January 2021, in the Heroes Act. Nevertheless, Republicans were only willing to offer up $400 per week in benefits.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he is ready to support unemployment benefits at $600 if the president supports it. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), said that, based on the other aspects of the stimulus package, she is open to compromise the $600 figure.
The president signed an executive order, in an attempt to offer up aid, to pay enhanced unemployment benefits. Nevertheless, that will likely face a challenge in the courts.