President-elect Joe Biden doubled down on his promise for $2,000 stimulus checks once he takes office on Jan. 20, stating that he’ll lay out the groundwork for his proposal next week.
“We need more direct relief flowing to families,” Biden said at an event on Friday. “Finishing the job of getting people that $2,000 of relief, the direct payment, $600 is simply not enough.”
The $2,000 stimulus check proposal was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate back in December but is now gaining steam after Democrats won both of Georgia’s Senate seats earlier this week, giving them control of the chamber.
The $600 direct payments are currently being distributed. If Biden’s proposal were passed, based on the legislation passed by the House in late December, eligible Americans could potentially receive an additional $1,400 (as well as an additional $1,400 for each dependent).
‘Next week, I'll be here with you all laying out the groundwork’
Before the Georgia elections, Biden — as well as both of the Democratic candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — campaigned on the $2,000 checks, with Biden promising “that money would go out the door immediately” to Americans if they were to win the election.
Along with stimulus checks, Biden mentioned more money allocated for vaccine distribution, aid to small businesses, and funding for schools.
The former vice president also cited the December jobs report, which showed payroll employment going down by 140,000, the first drop since April 2020, and the slowdown of the economic recovery to support his argument for why more stimulus is needed.
“I've said before, the bipartisan COVID relief package passed in December is a very important step, but just a down payment,” Biden said. “Next week, I'll be here with you all laying out the groundwork for the next COVID economic relief package that meets the critical moment.”
The $900-billion coronavirus relief portion of the bill that was passed on Dec. 31 includes $600 stimulus checks, extends two federal unemployment programs, provides an additional $300 in weekly jobless benefits, and adds another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses.
Other provisions included funding for vaccine distribution and schools, $25 billion in rental assistance, an extension of the eviction moratorium, $13 billion in food assistance, and $7 billion to increase access to broadband.
President Trump previously demanded the amount of the stimulus checks to be increased from $600 to $2,000, holding up the $900 billion stimulus deal for three days before signing it into law. The House subsequently passed legislation to increase the direct payments to $2,000.
Biden said he will be unveiling an entire stimulus package on Thursday, and that the proposal will be “in the trillions of dollars” rather than standalone legislation on stimulus checks.
“We're going to be proposing an entire package,” he said. “The price tag will be high.”