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Stimulus Checks

Second stimulus check update: what's the latest Joe Biden has said?

The Economic Impact Payments from the CARES Act provided $1,200 checks for individuals and the President-elect is eager to agree more financial support.

The Economic Impact Payments from the CARES Act provided $1,200 checks for individuals and the President-elect is eager to agree more financial support.

On Friday President-elect Joe Biden sat down with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schume at his makeshift transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. The focus of the meeting was their response to covid-19, with all three in attendance agreeing that another large-scale economic support package was a top priority.

Earlier that day Biden’s transition secretary, Jen Psaki, warned that “there’s no more room for delay” and Pelosi said that she was hopeful that talks with Senate Republicans could come to fruition. Biden’s team have released a summary of the meeting, which details that those present “agreed that Congress needed to pass a bipartisan emergency aid package in the lame duck session.”

What does Joe Biden want from the stimulus package?

This would be the first significant piece of financial support legislation from the federal government since the CARES Act was passed on 27 March. Much of the funding from that has already been exhausted with the remaining unemployment benefits ending on 26 December. The summary of Friday’s meeting suggests that Biden is hoping to replicate many aspect of the CARES Act, but does not make specific mention of the stimulus checks:

“[The stimulus] package should include resources to fight the covid-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families.”

The CARES Act provided $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans earning under $100,000 and the Democrat-proposed HEROES Bill includes another round of these Economic Impact Payments. In recent days Biden has called for the HEROES Bill to be signed into law, but it has faced opposition from the Republicans in Congress.

Will the new package include stimulus checks?

Biden and his team appear determined to get the new bill passed during the lame duck session, meaning the remaining period of Trump’s presidency before Biden’s inauguration. Despite having lost the election Trump is still the President until 20 January so it would take a good deal of cooperation from him to get a substantial deal passed, which may be unlikely.

Since the election the President’s diary shows that he has conducted very little governmental business, focusing instead on the fate of his vote fraud lawsuits. Earlier on Saturday he did not attend a G20 virtual conference on pandemic preparedness, but was pictured golfing on his own Trump-branded Virginia resort.

Trump may not be willing to fly the flag for the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion HEROES Bill, but he might be more inclined to push for the smaller package proposed by Senate Republicans. Before the election Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tabled a $500 billion “skinny bill” that Pelosi quickly dismissed as insufficient to deal with the scope of the pandemic’s economic damage. This bill, described by McConnell as a “targeted" package, did not include the stimulus checks. Biden and his team seem keen to provide another round of direct payments but that may not be possible until the President-elect takes office in the New Year.


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