4 Scenarios That Could Determine The Next Stimulus Check

No matter what this year’s election results are, the next president will influence numerous changes for many people. But one of the most significant changes on Americans’ minds is the possibility of another stimulus package — specifically, another round of pandemic payments. As a result, many are wondering which president is more likely to distribute relief after the election.

No one can say with certainty what will happen in the next 24 hours. However, the possibility that the White House and Congress will both flip remains. How would this affect the likelihood of more stimulus payments? And when could struggling Americans see this money?

Everything is speculation for now, but Money.com breaks down the scenarios that could lead to more stimulus. 

Scenario 1: President Trump Is Re-Elected, And The GOP Keeps The Senate

On October 27, President Trump said that “after the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen.” Yet ever since key measures included in the CARES Act expired over the summer, Congress has failed to compromise on important provisions in the next stimulus legislation.

For another round of stimulus checks to happen again, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows would have to concede on several issues with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. At the same time, they would also have to get support from Senate Majority Mitch McConnell. 

There is one option where Pelosi and the rest of the House approve a trimmed-down bill, but this situation is unlikely.

Scenario 2: President Trump Is Re-Elected And Democrats Flip The Senate

In this situation, Mnuchin, Meadows, and Pelosi agree on the next package’s terms and convince McConnell and the rest of the Senate to get on board. But even if a blue wave takes over the Senate, these new legislators wouldn’t take their seats until January. 

If President Trump wanted to expedite another stimulus package, he would need the support of the still-Republican Senate to approve another plan. In this scenario, it’s uncertain when Americans could receive another stimulus check, but MarketWatch speculated that pandemic payments could arrive with a comprehensive package for government funding before mid-December. 

When asked during an interview with MSNBC if an agreement could be reached “in a lame-duck session of Congress,” Pelosi said, “it depends on how much of a rehabilitation tour the Republicans want to take” when the election is over.

She added, “I would hope that, again, on the rehabilitation tour, that they may want to do something. The sooner, the better. Certainly, we’ll have something at the start of the new presidency, but we don’t want to have to wait that long, because people have needs.”

Scenario 3: Biden Is Elected And Democrats Flip The Senate

This scenario eliminates bipartisan friction and increases the possibility of more stimulus checks and broader pandemic relief. In his Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy, former Vice President Joe Biden refers to the $1,200 payments as “a good start” but inadequate during this prolonged crisis. He promises to “provide for additional checks to families should conditions require,” but does not provide a concrete amount or qualifications in his plan.

While a Democratic-led Congress and White House would mean higher chances for generous relief, it also means waiting until everyone is sworn in in January. This wait could be detrimental for Americans and the economy. 

In the meantime, President Trump could call on the GOP to approve another round of stimulus before he leaves office. But the Democrats may be unlikely to budge on a stopgap bill, which is likely what will be proposed. 

Scenario 4: Biden Is Elected, And The GOP Keeps The Senate

Pelosi has expressed a desire for a fresh start if Biden wins the election. However, since he would not be inaugurated until January, the likelihood of Americans receiving another stimulus payment before the end of the year is contingent on President Trump and Congress.

Pelosi told Mnuchin in a recent letter, “The president’s words that ‘after the election, we will get the best stimulus package you have ever seen’ only have meaning if he can get Mitch McConnell to take his hand off the pause button and get Senate Republican chairmen moving toward agreement with their House counterpart.”

The Senate could obstruct the passage of another bill, whether it’s one proposed by Democrats or President Trump. McConnell has been reluctant to call a vote for anything presented outside of the GOP, going so far as to say, “if a presidentially supported bill clears the House, at some point we’ll bring it to the floor.”


  • Glum, Julia. “5 Election Day Scenarios That Could Affect Your Next Stimulus Check.” Money, 11 Oct. 2AD, money.com/election-results-stimulus-check/.