President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil a multi-trillion dollar stimulus plan this week. Here’s what we know so far.
The plan will almost certainly include a provision to increase the amount of the second round of direct payments (that is, stimulus checks) from $600 to $2,000, though it’s not yet clear if the eligibility requirements for the larger payments will change.
It will also include more state and local aid (a provision that was left out of the most recent $900 billion package in the wake of vehement objections from the GOP), Bloomberg reported, as well as a further expansion of enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
There will also be more money for vaccine distribution, schools, rental assistance, small business aid, and tax credits, Bloomberg reported, with provisions pulled from a $3.4 trillion bill the House of Representatives passed in May that the Republican run Senate never even considered.
The success of large parts of Biden’s plan (those eligible under a process called budget reconciliation) will hinge on the full support of every Democratic senator after last week’s runoff elections in Georgia—with control of the Senate now split 50-50 (and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker vote), Biden cannot afford to lose even one Democratic vote on a massive spending plan that almost all, if not all, Republicans are sure to oppose.
The push for $2,000 checks is already facing some pushback from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a conservative Democrat whose vote will be critical and who signaled last week that he might be opposed to the larger checks if they are not more narrowly targeted to those who have actually lost jobs and income.
It’s also not clear that all of the big ticket items that Biden and Democrats want—including the state and local aid they say is critical for recovery—would fall under the reconciliation umbrella, meaning that 60 votes and some Republican support may be necessary for those provisions to pass.
In response to last week’s December jobs report, which showed a loss of 140,000 jobs, Biden said, “the bottom line is…. we need to provide more immediate relief for working families and businesses now.”
House Democrats on Monday introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, which they say they will advance if a parallel measure to remove Trump from office via the 25th Amendment fails. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Sunday that even if a vote on impeachment passes the House this week, it’s possible that chamber will delay sending the matter to the Senate in order to let Biden’s fledgling administration focus on its own priorities—chief among them stimulus legislation and confirming new cabinet members—in its first 100 days.
Biden is planning on delaying his $3 trillion tax and infrastructure program—a staple of his campaign—until later in the spring to let Congress focus on immediate stimulus spending, Axios reported. That plan could also be considered under budget reconciliation rules and would only require a simple majority to pass.