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CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

$1400 or $1000 third stimulus check: how's the negotiation for each proposal?

President Biden would like to get bipartisan support for his plan, but he is sticking with his stated $1400 amount for a third round of stimulus checks.

$1400 or $1000 third stimulus check: how's the negotiation for each proposal?
MANDEL NGAN AFP

President Biden reiterated his intention to push for $1400 stimulus checks in the next round of coronavirus aid speaking from the White House on Friday. Congress will work on the legislation for the spending package in the coming weeks.

Joe Biden campaigned on a platform of unifying the nation with his ability to work across the aisle. However his desire to get his $1.9 trillion proposal for relief for Americans suffering from the pandemic-induced crisis quickly means he is not willing to get “bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis.”

What are the Republicans proposing?

A group of 10 Republican senators presented the White House with a counterproposal to Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Their $600 billion plan left out key features that Biden and Democrats are pushing for, most notably funding for state and local governments. They also wanted to see smaller and more targeted $1000 direct payments.

In an attempt to end the debate on the size of the future stimulus checks Biden said on Friday “I’m not cutting the size of the checks. They’re going to be $1,400, period.” He did leave room to negotiate on who would be eligible for the third round of direct payments saying “we need to target that money so folks making $300,000 don’t get any windfall.”

How will Biden’s insistence on $1400 affect the covid-19 relief

Democrats in the House and Senate took the final steps to jam a coronavirus relief bill through Congress without Republicans. In an interview with AP Jim Manley, a longtime aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said of moving forward without the Republicans could “poison the well for the future.”

However he added that “President Biden’s got some pretty big tests in front of him when it comes to domestic policy. He is someone who prides himself on his deal-making skills and yet he may have to take a page out of the LBJ-style playbook and jam some things through both the House and the Senate to get anything done.”

Opposition from the left

Within the Democratic party there are varying views regarding the new direct payments. What the House puts in their bill could affect how the future bill moves forward in the Senate.

A group of House progressives is urging Biden to make the stimulus payments recurring for the duration of the pandemic. Although no dollar amount was stated in their proposal several have called for $2000 direct payments in the past. They recommend that the payments go to those most in need who will spend the money quickly, more effectively stimulating the economy. However capping payments for individuals earning $50,000 and couples earning $100,000 in their view is too low.

Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat Senator, has also called for the eligibility requirements for the payments to be more limited. He and Senator Susan Collins put an amendment on the budget reconciliation bill that would bar upper income earners from receiving a direct payment in the next round. Their proposal didn’t define what that would actually mean though.

When could Congress pass the new stimulus checks?

Democrats want to get the coronavirus aid out before mid-March when current enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats “Our work to crush the coronavirus and deliver relief to the American people is urgent and of the highest priority.” Pelosi also said that she aims to send a sweeping coronavirus relief bill to the Senate within two weeks.

Senate leaders could begin working on their own bill to meet the mid-March deadline but they will first have to deal with former President Trump’s second impeachment trial set to begin on 9 February. It is unclear how long the trial will take, but once it has concluded the Senate can get back to work on the relief bill.

Biden’s proposal is quite popular among the American public making it easier for Democrats and Biden to feel comfortable with foregoing bipartisanship. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said at Friday’s press briefing “He didn’t run on a promise to unite the Democratic and Republican Party into one party in Washington.”