CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Stimulus check: why is #BidenLied trending?

The #BidenLied hashtag began trending on Twitter after the Democratic Party shared a tweet that outlined Biden's plans to get $1,400 checks to Americans.

Stimulus check: why is #BidenLied trending?
TOM BRENNER REUTERS

President Joe Biden's critics are claiming he "lied" about the size and promptness of stimulus checks promised to Americans during campaigning in the Georgia runoffs.

On Sunday, the #BidenLied hashtag began trending on Twitter after the Democratic Party shared a tweet that outlined Biden's plans to get $1,400 checks to most Americans, on top of the already agreed $600 payments.

"[Biden] will build on the $600 down payment provided by Congress last year, sending an additional $1,400 to households across America, totaling direct payments to $2,000 per person," the party posted over the weekend.

Some using the hashtag on Twitter have insisted that Biden had promised individual $2,000 payments, rather than $1,400 on top of $600 checks.

The US President announced his $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan" on January 14, when he said: "We will finish the job of getting a total of a $2,000 in cash relief to people who need it the most. The $600 already appropriated is simply not enough."

A White House press release issued six days later specifically cited the president's plans to send out "$1,400 per-person checks."

Before Biden had even officially taken office, he announced details of a large-scale covid-19 relief bill that was intended to offer support for Americans suffering financially due to the pandemic. Known as the American Rescue Plan it is the flagship economic policy of the Biden administration.

Included in the $1.9 trillion package is another round of stimulus checks, greater funding for additional unemployment benefits and federal support for small businesses and local government.

Talks surrounding the next round of coronavirus stimulus checks are still ongoing as the new President attempts to get his ambitious American Rescue Plan passed. His covid-19 economic relief bill includes a round of $1,400 direct payments to ‘top up’ the $600 distributed earlier this month.

Exact details of Biden’s proposal have not yet been released but it is thought that there are some considerable changes made to eligibility that could see millions more able to receive the direct support.

Americans left frustrated after $2,000 promise

Americans are showing their frustration and anger online as they believed that President Joe Biden was going to deliver $2,000 stimulus checks to those affected by unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters in early January.

Biden also tweeted: "The debate over $2,000 isn’t some abstract debate in Washington. It’s about real lives. Hardworking Americans need help, and they need it now. Georgia—you have the power to make it happen. Vote."

Lawmakers pressure Biden for $2,000 recurring payments

The covid-19 relief bill proposed by Biden earlier this month includes a $1,400 ‘top-up’ payment but many Democrats have called for more to be done after nearly a year of pandemic disruption. In Biden’s first week in office another 847,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits and the route back to pre-pandemic unemployment rates is expected to take years.

The group, led by Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, argue that the standstill in Congress over previous rounds of support have left millions of millions without any financial relief. For many, another delay of this length would be disastrous.

Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Chellie Pingree are among a group of 56 House Democrats who are petitioning for the Biden administration to include regular, recurring cash payments into the next Covid-19 relief bill. Ilhan Omar, Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district wrote a letter addressed to President Biden and Vice President Harris urging them to provide a lifeline to struggling Americans to get through “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”.

Omar believes that issuing a one-off payment will not be enough for most low earners to get by while others have pointed out that a single check for $1,400 would last most people a couple of months before they are back to square one.

In her letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris, Ilhan Omar wrote: "It is clear that during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history that we must take additional unprecedented action. We kindly request that your incoming administration consider including support for recurring cash payments in your future economic relief plans. Recurring payments would provide a long-term lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic. Data shows the CARES Act payments were the primary reason that poverty feel by as many as four million people at the start of the recession."

Omar added that many families “cannot afford to wait for eight months between payments, families need ongoing relief”.

Economic Security Project

The Economic Security Project proposes an initial payment of $1,400 which will rise to recurring, monthly payments of $2,000 until the economy recovers. That would be followed by quarterly payments of $2,000 for one year or until the employment rate (EPOP) reaches 60%.

While Omar’s letter did not mention a specific figure for a recurring stimulus check, Vice President Harris did support a proposal for monthly payments of $2,000 as part of the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act in May last year.

The plan has gained support from a number of Democrats, including Massachusetts' Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree who tweeted this week: “$2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over”.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plans includes a third round of stimulus checks; the name commonly used to refer to the Economic Impact Payments sent out to eligible Americans. However the Progressives' letter calls them “survival checks”, suggesting that for many recipients the financial support is absolutely vital.

If Congress can pass the stimulus checks by February 4, CNET reports that Americans could start receiving their checks by direct deposit on February 8, by mail on February 15, and by debit card on February 22.