A second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to help Americans weather the pandemic once seemed all but ensured, with both Democrats and Republicans supporting the provision in early coronavirus relief negotiations in July.

Likewise, many Americans were confident that Congress would approve a new round of federal jobless aid, even if it might be less than the $600 a week that ran out at the end of that month.

But with bipartisan talks now stalled, a second direct check is one of several policy proposals left in the lurch. Jobless aid is stuck as well. After Democrats blocked a pared-down Republican proposal on Thursday, lawmakers in both parties are increasingly pessimistic that Congress can reach an agreement before the November election. Some also see the urgency of new aid fading, thanks to an improving economy.

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