WASHINGTON – Voters watched with anticipation for months as congressional leaders and the White House bickered over another coronavirus stimulus package, one they hoped would provide another round of $1,200 stimulus checks and a more generous weekly unemployment payment to help weather the global pandemic.

But a deal never materialized even as millions found themselves unemployed, COVID-19 case totals climbed and benefits expired. Democrats faulted Republicans. Republicans similarly said Democrats were responsible. The merry-go-round of negotiations, filled with moments of hope then dismay as both sides deadlocked, played out as voters made decisions on who they would back in the election.

Here’s how the stalled stimulus package could impact the results on Election Day and where stimulus talks go from here.

How could COVID relief affect the outcome of the election?

The last significant relief Congress passed to help Americans weathering the pandemic was in March – eight months ago.

Since then, unemployment rates have continued to stay at levels not seen since the 2008 recession and COVID-19 cases have nearly hit 9 million in the U.S. Benefits that allowed for boosted weekly unemployment payments have halted, a vital loan forgiveness program for small businesses expired, government workers in states across the country and those who work for airlines saw furloughs and layoffs while public health professions pleaded for more funds to help fund a vaccine.