As soon as Democrats take control of the chamber, they are expected to make coronavirus relief a top priority. This apparently includes increasing direct payments to a total of $2,000.
“The job of COVID emergency relief is far from complete,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote in a letter.
“Democrats wanted to do much more in the last bill and promised to do more, if given the opportunity, to increase direct payments to a total of $2,000 — we will get that done.”
For those wondering if we would see an additional $2,000 check or an additional $1,400 check, this language (“to a total of“) makes it sound like the third round of stimulus checks would be capped at $1,400.
This is not unexpected at all because an increase in stimulus checks was already going to be controversial for Republicans in the Senate.
By trying to push for an additional $2,000 amount that totaled $2,600, that was going to be a much more uphill battle than simply adding the $1,400.
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We will know more about what the package should include after tomorrow which is when Biden is expected to reveal the full details of his proposal.
In addition to stimulus checks, we are expecting other benefits to be included like money for vaccine distribution, small businesses, schools, and state and local governments.
“We will immediately set to work to deliver on that goal,” Schumer said.
“As our first order of legislative business, please prepare to address additional COVID emergency relief legislation.”
It’s still not clear if Democrats will have the votes to pass another huge relief bill even though they will have control of both the Senate and the House.
Democrat senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, said that he would “absolutely not” support sending Americans a $2,000 stimulus check.
“How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed?” he said.
“And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check.”
He later clarified that his priority is getting the vaccines out and that he would potentially be open to a more targeted approach for the stimulus checks.
Vaccine distribution is a major concern right now as the US is currently far behind its goal. According to the New York Times, 20 million Americans were supposed to be vaccinated by January 1 but only 3 million were.
So there is a lot of work to do on that end although I’m not sure why it would preclude authorizing an additional payment of stimulus checks, especially since the third time around it should be the easiest.
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