President-elect Joe Biden promised a third round of stimulus checks on Tuesday.
Americans urgently need financial relief as the pandemic continues to hamper the economy, but the actual dollar amount of the next direct payment remains "a negotiating issue," he said.
Biden added that Americans "owe Bernie Sanders and his Republican colleagues thanks" for pushing for direct payments in the most recent package.
The next COVID-19 stimulus package will extend federal unemployment assistance, Biden said, adding, "People are desperately hurting. And the Republicans are hurting as badly as Democrats."
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President-elect Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that a third round of stimulus checks will be part of the next pandemic relief bill he'll urge Congress to pass after taking office in January.
When asked if his plan will include direct payments and for how much, Biden said checks will be part of the package, but declined to stick to a hard number.
"Yes. Look, that's a negotiating issue," Biden said. "But it will, yes it will."
Biden also acknowledged one of his former opponents in the Democratic presidential primary.
"By the way, I think we owe Bernie Sanders and his Republican colleagues thanks for getting not all of the stimulus - $1,200 - but getting $600 done," he said, alluding to Sanders' collaboration with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.
The president-elect went on to emphasize his belief that direct payments enjoy broad popularity among the American public, particularly since the spring.
"I think you're seeing that there's a clear understanding that these issues go beyond any ideology."
However, Biden tamped down on expectations about how far Congress might go with a new round of stimulus once he takes office on January 20.
"Have you ever known anyone in the history of the United States of America that could be president and sure of what the Congress is going to do?" he asked.
Another major component of Biden's plan would be extending federal unemployment assistance. He described the most recent extension of $300 per week for 11 weeks "simply not sufficient" beyond the holiday season, given the fragility of the job market.
"People are desperately hurting," Biden said. "And the Republicans are hurting as badly as Democrats."
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