As reported by cnet,

President-elect Joe Biden is one of the third stimulus check’s supporters, but there’s conflict brewing.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Democrats, poised to take control of Congress and the White House in the next few weeks, are sketching out the details of a new sweeping COVID-relief bill that could make good on economic support programs Democratic legislators have been pushing for since last summer. But with a paper-thin majority in the Senate, Democrats need to hold their caucus together to achieve their goals, including for a new $2,000 stimulus check.

One possible defection could be Senate Democrat Joe Manchin, who on Friday expressed concern about the cost of a third stimulus check and suggested the financial aid could be better focused on those most in need of the money.

“Absolutely not. No. Getting people vaccinated, that’s job No. 1,” Manchin, a centrist from West Virginia, told The Washington Post Friday when asked about more stimulus payments. “How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed? And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check.”

Shortly after, Manchin appears to have softened his stance. According to an NBC News reporter, Manchin’s spokesperson said he was “open” to hearing President-elect Joe Biden’s case for a $2,000 stimulus check, but prioritizes vaccine distribution. Funding to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine is also on Biden’s agenda for a large stimulus bill.

With the Senate evenly divided and incoming Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to act a tiebreaker, opposition from just one Democratic senator could sink the party’s hopes for a large third stimulus check.

“The price tag will be high,” Biden said Friday in a press conference. “We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people that $2,000 relief direct payment. $600 is simply not enough,” he added.

The tug of war over the $2,000 stimulus check builds off statements Biden and other Democratic leaders made Wednesday, hours before Trump’s supporters forced their way into the US Capitol. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader-designate, pledged to pass a $2,000 third stimulus check through Congress. The $2,000 checks were also a campaign issue in this month’s Georgia Senate runoffs, where two Democrats defeated Republican incumbents for the seats.

“One of the first things that I want to do when our new Senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families,” Schumer said Wednesday from the Senate floor.

Scant hours after the declarations were made, the nation’s focus swung to the dramatic events on Capitol Hill and then to calls of impeaching Trump for inciting mob violence and for invoking the 25th Amendment to seek to strip his power days ahead of Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The resignation of some of Trump’s cabinet members soon followed.

Does any of the upheaval in the nation’s capital affect a third stimulus check for $2,000 apiece? How could the turmoil affect the Congressional Republicans newly sworn in on Jan. 3 and when could a new stimulus check arrive? We’ll share what we know in the lead up to Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, as the situation develops.

The momentum for a $2,000 stimulus check

The IRS may have already dashed to send out about two-thirds of the second stimulus checks for up to $600 apiece (track your payment here and calculate your total here), but some Washington leaders are already pledging a $2,000 third stimulus check. The calls for a $2,000 cap per eligible adult pick up where Trump, congressional Democrats and a few outspoken Republicans left off trying to raise the $600 ceiling on the second stimulus check to $2,000.

With Democrats readying to swear in two Georgia senators and take the majority by a hair, the party will control Congress and the presidency, making it easier for Biden to pass his objectives despite projected resistance from Senate Republicans.

Biden had already made it clear he supports a third stimulus check, but before this week, had shied away from committing to a sum. In his early presidential campaign, he had suggested a $1,200 stimulus check, modeled on the first, but more recently, he left the question open.

“This bill is just the first step, a down payment,” Biden said Dec. 22 in the last days of negotiation over the second stimulus check. When asked by a reporter if a future package would contain the third stimulus check and how much money he would seek, Biden said, “That’s a negotiating issue… But it will, yes, it will.”

It now appears that the introduction of a $2,000 per person upper limit in a serious way, and confidence of a Democratic Senate, have emboldened Biden to push for the larger sum.

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How a third stimulus check could send you more money

A $600 check is, obviously, half the $1,200 from 2020, so, yes, recipients get less money per household. But there’s more to it than that. Since the upper limit for a second check is $600 per adult, with an extra $600 per child dependent, the way the IRS’ formula works out, more people hit the upper income limit for receiving a second payment, which means they won’t actually qualify to get any stimulus money at all.

A third stimulus check could:

Again, much could depend on who wins control of the Senate, and what the new Biden administration sees as its goals in rehabilitating an economy weakened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Other funding a new stimulus bill could provide

We already know some of Biden’s early economic stimulus objectives, which he shared as part of his presidential campaign trail. There’s a good chance that he’d push Congress to revisit those agenda items, in addition to several programs left out of December’s $900 billion bill by both Republicans and Democrats.

They could include measures like:

  • A larger third stimulus check that could reach more people.
  • Federal unemployment checks past March.
  • Renewing the eviction ban past Jan. 31.
  • Student loan deferrals or forgiveness for public schools.
  • More money for state, local and tribal governments.
  • More money for contact tracing, coronavirus testing and COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
  • Liability protection for businesses against coronavirus-related lawsuits.

For more information, here’s how to calculate your second stimulus check paymentwho may not qualify for a check and a primer on the five different priority groups.

Source link: cnet


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