President-elect Joe Biden‘s new economic relief plan, expected to be released Thursday, may include $2,000 stimulus checks for eligible Americans.
Biden has often said that another stimulus package was a high priority for his administration. Drumming up support for the new package could be easier when Democrats take control of the U.S. Senate, an event that will not happen until Georgia’s new Democratic senators are sworn in this January. Biden said on Monday that he had discussed his new stimulus proposal with members of the GOP, implying a desire for bipartisan support of the package.
“My priority is to get, first and foremost, a stimulus bill passed and secondly, again to rebuild the economy,” Biden said. “I’ve been speaking with some of my Republican colleagues about being able to move on a second package sooner than later.”
While details of the new stimulus package have not been released by Biden’s transition team, some observers expect it to include an extension of increased unemployment payments and funding for the delivery and dissemination of COVID-19 vaccines.
Although Democrats Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock defeated their Republican opponents in Georgia’s special January election, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has until January 22 to officially certify the election results. Once that happens, Democrats will hold 50 Senate seats. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in her role as President of the Senate, is expected to cast any tie-breaking votes which would give Democrats the advantage in the Senate.
Biden expressed support for the $600 checks in December but said that more relief was needed, describing the proposal as an “important down payment on what’s going to have to be done beginning the end of January into February.”
In a January campaign speech on behalf of Warnock and Ossoff, Biden said their election would hasten the delivery of the $2,000 checks.
“If you send Jon and the Reverend to Washington,” Biden said, “those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now.”
Biden warned during a January news conference that his stimulus package would carry a high price tag. According to Biden, economists have said “we should be investing significant amounts of money right now” to prevent a collapse of the U.S. economy in the future.
Opposition to the larger direct payments still exists. Democrat West Virginia Representative Joe Manchin said during a Sunday interview with CNN that he was not in support of “sending checks to people who already have a check.” If Manchin decides to vote against Biden’s proposal, then at least one Republican senator would have to side with Democrats in order for Biden’s proposal to pass.
GOP Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida both supported the $2,000 direct payments after President Donald Trump asked for the higher stimulus checks in December. Passage of a standalone bill that would have allowed the $2,000 stimulus payments was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Newsweek reached out to the Biden transition team for comment.
$2,000 Stimulus Checks Expected to Be in Joe Biden’s Emerging Relief Plan The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Newsweek.