Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

What did Biden say about $2,000 stimulus check?

It’s clear that Donald Trump has been calling for a larger pay out than is in the new bill. What has Biden said on a bigger $2,000 stimulus check?

What did Biden say about $2,000 stimulus check?
JIM WATSON AFP

After months of deadlock, Congress has finally managed to agree on a new economic stimulus package last week. It took president Donald Trump almost one week of delays and enormous political and moral pressure to sign the bill into law.

The new $900 bill, which is less than a third of the size of the $3 trillion CARES Act that passed in March, includes $166bn for direct payments to Americans - or stimulus checks - $325 billion for loans to small businesses, $120 billion for federal benefit boosts for the unemployed and $69 billion for vaccines, testing and tracing.

However, to much dismay and frustration from millions of desperate Americans, the new round of stimulus checks approved under this new bill will amount to a maximum of just $600, which is half the amount of the first $1,200 stimulus checks that were sent out earlier this year under the CARES Act.

Biden calls bipartisan bill “downpayment”

Like Trump, Joe Biden has always been in favour of Congress passing a second round of at least $1,200 stimulus checks and the president-elect will also be disappointed that the new stimulus bill includes a fraction of the amount.

The overall budget for the final $900 billion bill is less than a third of what Democrats originally wanted to spend, which will be another blow for Biden, who will be in desperate need of funds as he looks to oversee the repair of the battered US economy upon taking office on 20 January.

Of course, a $3 trillion package would have been much better for Biden in this regard. Nevertheless, he took a positive tone in a statement released following the agreement on the new bill, applauding:

“the bipartisan Congressional economic relief package that will deliver...critical temporary support for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, support to help keep families in their homes, and food on their table; and direct payments to help Americans make it through a dark winter.”

He added: “But this action in the lame duck session is just the beginning. Our work is far from over. On day one, my administration will be ready to undertake additional steps to get the virus under control and build our economy back better than it was before this crisis.”

The New York Times reported last week that Biden was looking to ask Congress soon after his inauguration to pass an additional coronavirus aid package with more money for firefighters, police officers and nurses, calling the measure a “down payment.”

Larry Summers: $2,000 stimulus “pretty serious mistake”

What’s more, US treasury secretary Larry Summers told Bloomberg on Friday that $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans would be a "pretty serious mistake," on the grounds that it could overheat the US economy.

Summers was reportedly an adviser to Joe Biden’s election campaign. Biden has not yet commented on this opinion.

Donald Trump claims to want $2,000 stimulus checks

Describing the $600 figure as "ridiculously low" and "measly", Trump has called on Congress to up the second stimulus check to $2,000 - a proposal which Democrats on Capitol Hill have reacted to with enthusiasm.

In a statement issued after he signed the relief bill, Trump said:

"As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child."

Republicans blocked an attempt by House Democrats to approve the increase by unanimous consent on Thursday, but the lower chamber’s speaker, Nancy Pelosi has said she will hold a full recorded vote on the amendment on Monday.