At Least 50 Dems Would Support Standalone Bill

This is my stimulus update for Wednesday, August 19.

At this point in these stimulus updates I’m primarily focusing on two main things: first thing, the status of actual or potential second stimulus legislation beyond what we’ve seen in the Democrats’ HEROES Act and the Republicans’ HEALS Act, both of which we know will not be approved as-is by their respective opposing parties, and second thing, the status of the rollout of Trump’s stimulus-related executive actions.

Will Pelosi Accept “Skinny” Stimulus Bills?

So let’s talk second stimulus first.

Like I told you yesterday, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will be voting this Saturday on a standalone Post Office bill that will likely include not only rules pertaining to the operations of the postal service but also potentially additional funding for the Post Office, which we know that Pelosi and the Democrats sought in the HEROES Act, which itself called for $25 billion worth of Post Office funding.

And keep in mind that as we’ve discussed here on the channel previously, in the course of stimulus negotiations, Republicans reportedly agreed to $10 billion for Post Office funding, and reports are that Republicans are preparing their own smaller-scale stimulus bill right now that will in fact include $10 billion for Post Office funding, I told you yesterday other items that this bill may include.  Absent from that list was stimulus checks, but we’ll have to see what Republicans come up with.

But the big question right now, because all these little “skinny” bills are worthless unless they can be agreed to by both sides, the big question right now is the one I posed in yesterday’s video, which is, “Does Nancy Pelosi’s willingness to entertain a standalone Post Office funding bill — especially considering that the Democrats proposed Post Office funding in the HEROES Act — does this indicate that Democrats may be more open to a standalone stimulus relief bill than they have previously indicated, perhaps something along the lines of what Mark Meadows was talking about earlier this week: 1) stimulus checks for the people, 2) PPP for small business, and 3) Post Office funding?”

Because at this point it looks like agreement on a “big bill” is not going to be reached any time soon.

So will Democrats be open to a piecemeal piece or pieces of stimulus legislation beyond Post Office funding, because we know the Republican-held Senate will not pass a standalone Post Office bill?

Well, look, Mark Meadows himself seems to think that this is more likely now than it has been.  Yesterday he told reporters, “I think the outlook for a skinny deal is better than it’s ever been and yet we are still not there.  If Speaker Pelosi moves forward a single bill on postal service… let’s add in the things we can agree upon.”

On the other hand, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s V.P. pick in her 2016 presidential run, said that he doesn’t think that serious stimulus negotiations will resume until after the Democratic and GOP conventions conclude, this is something that I have suspected as well.

He said that at the GOP convention next week, he predicts speakers and what not will likely praise Trump’s four executive actions taken on stimulus, but Kaine predicts that once the GOP convention is over, that would be the week before Labor Day, he thinks that serious stimulus talks will resume again.

And will it be for a skinnier bill because it doesn’t seem that Democrats and Republicans are keen on agreeing to a massive bill?  That’s what I’m looking for clues about this week and next week.

Rank-And-File Democrats OK With Standalone Stimulus Bill

And on this point, yesterday, three Democratic members of Congress, Scott H. Peters, Donald S. Beyer Jr., and Derek Kilmer sent a letter to House Democratic top brass, that is Speaker of the House Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, saying, yeah, it’s great that we’re going to vote for the Post Office this Saturday, but what about unemployment?

They’re saying, look, we need to extend the $600 weekly unemployment and tier it down after a certain period based on state unemployment rates, and this is proposed in a standalone bill called the Worker Relief and Security Act.

And beyond the three authors of this letter, reports are that about fifty other Congressional Democrats support what it says.

So what’s the takeaway here?  Takeaway is that, we know Republicans are open to standalone stimulus bills, and Mark Meadows has been the most vocal individual about this lately, but not only that, we now see that reportedly at least some fifty Congressional Democrats would support a standalone stimulus bill such as the Worker Relief and Security Act, will Pelosi and Schumer feel the same is the question.

Trump’s Payroll Tax Memorandum Update

Yesterday, thirty trade groups and associations, including more well-known groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as the National Association of REALTORS to lesser-known groups such as the Brick Industry Association and the Vinyl Institute, these thirty groups collectively sent a letter to Pelosi, McConnell, and Mnuchin about Trump’s payroll tax memorandum, urging the White House and Congress to, and I quote, “come together on a path that provides much-needed tax relief for families without the uncertainty associated with the recent payroll tax Executive Order,” of course it’s technically a memorandum, but they refer to it as an executive order.

In this letter, these thirty trade groups and associations basically say that Trump’s payroll tax memorandum sucks because it could potentially leave employees holding the bag with a fat tax bill come next April because they hadn’t been paying in these payroll taxes because they were deferred by this memorandum, but then they come due next April.

They put a little chart in the letter showing an estimated tax liability for four different employees at different wage levels, and then they conclude by saying that many of the members of these groups and associations will essentially ignore Trump’s memorandum on payroll tax deferral and simply “continue to withhold and remit to the government the payroll taxes required by law.”

These are similar sentiments to those I have had myself that I have shared with you previously as both a CPA and a business owner with employees.

Many of my clients are also choosing to ignore this memorandum, ignore the deferral, and in September will continue to withholding and remit to the Treasury payroll taxes on behalf of their employees.

Now, Trump has claimed that if he’s re-elected he will somehow permanently erase these payroll taxes — not sure how he’s going to do that because God knows such a plan would not get through Congress — but I have expressed my concerns with that plan as well in my video from August 9.

Trump’s Unemployment Memorandum Update

Trump’s unemployment memorandum, reportedly now seven states — Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Utah — have been approved to receive a grant to pay out the $300 weekly to those on unemployment.

South Dakota is not applying for the assistance, and we will have to see what happens in the forty-two other states, I did see that this morning Maryland did apply for a grant.

I will continue to keep my eyes open on what’s going on with Trump’s stimulus-related executive actions as well as information pertaining to second stimulus and particularly the possibility of a skinnier relief bill because that could be where we’re headed, now I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve given up all hope for a “big bill,” I haven’t, I haven’t given up all hope there, but maybe practically-speaking a skinnier bill is where we’re going to end up, we will have to see.

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