President-elect Joe Biden pledged $ 2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won the Senate. They did. Now there are questions about what that $ 2,000 pledge means: Is it $ 1,400 on top of the $ 600 that came from the stimulus package passed in December? Or is it just an additional $ 2,000?
Biden’s team and Democratic leadership have focused on the more humble version, but there is an urge to send Americans a full $ 2,000 more, led by progressive MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY).
On Thursday, Biden announced its opening offer for economic stimulus: A $ 1.9 trillion proposal is set to strengthen the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and boost the US economy. The new administration wants to take a two-part approach to the economy – this first “rescue” phase and a later one that focuses on “recovery”. The details are expected to be revealed when he speaks ahead of a joint Congress session in February (basically the state of the Union).
Biden’s American bailout plan includes stimulus checks, which have been at the center of the economic debate, and calls for families to receive an additional $ 1,400 to increase December payments to $ 2,000. Biden’s plan also includes extending the eligibility of scrutiny to adult dependents who have not been included in previous business cycles and ensuring that families with mixed immigrant status are included.
The stimulus checks were given a high priority in Biden’s proposal, also because they are popular. A poll by Vox and Data for Progress in December before the $ 900 billion package was passed found that 75 percent of likely voters wanted stimulus checks, which are a priority in the legislation. Even outgoing President Donald Trump supported checks worth $ 2,000, and a large majority of his supporters wanted at least them to be larger than $ 600.
“We will end the task of giving a total of $ 2,000 in direct aid to the people who need them most,” said Biden in a speech in which he spoke about his proposal on Thursday evening. “$ 600 is just not enough when you have to choose between rent and food.”
Biden’s proposal is the first step in a likely long negotiating process between Democrats and Republicans that Biden’s team has signaled that they hope to be on board with another round of Covid-19 aid. Error lines already appear, even with stimulus tests.
Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post that she believes Biden needs to get taller on stimulus checks. “$ 2,000 means $ 2,000. $ 2,000 doesn’t mean $ 1,400, ”she said. The New York Congresswoman reiterated sentiment on Twitter, adding that unemployment benefits should also be retroactive. (Biden’s proposal would extend a weekly unemployment insurance benefit of $ 400 per week through September.)
Some Republicans shy away from the size of Biden’s overall plan, but stimulus checks could be supported by both parties. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Biden asking him to support stand-alone legislation to increase the checks from $ 600 to $ 2,000. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) advocated $ 2,000 checks in 2020, and he could push for a renewed proposal now.
Even among Democrats, negotiations about what should and shouldn’t be done in the economy will not go smoothly. It’s not just the left flank that Biden and the lead are struggling with – it’s moderate too. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was extremely skeptical of $ 2,000 stimulus checks (which means an additional $ 1,400, not the larger amount Ocasio-Cortez is asking). “I don’t know where the hell $ 2,000 came from,” Manchin told the Post last week. “I swear to God I don’t. That’s another $ 400 billion. “
He later made it clear that if they were more targeted, he would potentially endorse more checks, although it’s worth noting that they are already being targeted: the $ 600 checks were limited to those earning up to $ 75,000 a year and expired on those who earned $ 87,000 a year in tax returns for 2019. It is not clear whether Biden would seek eligibility for income thresholds or who exactly would be eligible for checks. His team did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal (D-MA), who passed the CASH Act, which the House voted in December to increase checks to $ 2,000, said the committee was working still working with in-depth administration to finalize the details, and then will begin drafting laws that will reflect Biden’s proposal.
Biden seems ready to make it big. The question is how big.
Biden’s original proposal is great. In some ways, after the Great Recession in 2009, the Democrats passed a stimulus plan that was about half the size of the one Biden is currently pushing. He says this is the beginning and a second proposal addressing issues such as infrastructure and climate is on the way. And Biden seems to have brought religion to the deficit in a moment of crisis, or doesn’t care so much about it for the time being.
“Smart fiscal investment, including deficit spending, is not only more urgent than ever. It is that the return on this investment – in jobs, in racial justice – prevents long-term economic damage and the benefits will far outweigh the costs, ”he said Thursday. “A growing chorus of top economists agree that at this moment of crisis, with interest rates at historic lows, we cannot afford to stand still.”
Even so, fault lines emerging over the stimulus checks and other details of the bill show that there will be quite a debate among Democrats and on the left about how ambitious they should be. Ocasio-Cortez is hardly the only character who wants Biden to go on.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) have urged Biden to urge “baby bonds” to be included in a stimulus package. “We urge you to ‘make it big’ with a bold vision for racist and economic justice,” they wrote in a letter to the president-elect this week, arguing that baby bonds create federal government-funded savings accounts for every child would America, “represent a unique opportunity to close the racial wealth gap and open economic opportunities to every American.”
Biden’s plan suggests automatic stabilizers that would attach social safety net mechanisms such as unemployment insurance to economic conditions and turn them on and off automatically. It doesn’t go into details, but proponents are optimistic. In a statement by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), the new chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and leaders of the New Democrat Coalition who have advocated automatic triggers, the group said they believe they have an ally in the White House “will make a huge difference if we give our colleagues the argument for this policy.”
It is not yet clear how many lawmakers will join Ocasio-Cortez in calling for greater stimulus controls, but a bigger push is possible.
Stimulus checks aside, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) have long been campaigning for the ABC (Automatic BOOST to Communities) law, which will grant everyone $ 2,000 during The pandemic’s recurring payments would receive a pre-installed debit card, followed by $ 1,000 per month until a year after the coronavirus crisis ended. In a statement to Vox, Tlaib said it was “good news” that the incoming administration announced additional relief, but that bold action was required to “end the neglect of the Trump administration.”
“Families need additional direct payments and we should send them checks for $ 2,000 and not stop there. We must provide recurring checks for $ 2,000 to everyone. The willingness of the Democrats to meet the needs of families across the country has put us in control of the Senate and the White House, ”she said. “It is time for us to fulfill the mandate that the people have given us.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who was a proponent of the $ 2,000 check last year and is now about to head the Senate Budget Committee, told Politico he plans to be “aggressive” when it comes to it going to get help. On Thursday he called Biden’s proposal a “very strong first installment”.
Democrats have opportunities to really change people’s lives. The incoming Biden government is being pressured to do more from the left and perhaps less by moderates. This is how the process works.
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