by Maurie Backman | Jan. 20, 2021
Joe Biden will prioritize coronavirus aid following Inauguration Day.
With Joe Biden set to be inaugurated today, Americans should soon know more about their likelihood of getting a third stimulus payment. In the spring of 2020, eligible recipients got a $1,200 stimulus check, and in late December of 2020, lawmakers passed a follow-up relief measure that provided $600 stimulus checks.
Joe Biden, however, along with other lawmakers, felt that $600 follow-up payment fell short, especially given the number of Americans who are still without jobs. To that end, he's proposing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package called the American Rescue Plan that includes a number of key provisions:
The question is: Will lawmakers bite?
Joe Biden has made a point of saying that he wants to deliver coronavirus aid to the public within 100 days of taking office. And while that may be an ambitious goal, it's also a necessary one to strive for.
The jobless rate, though much lower than it was back in April of 2020 when it reached a record high, is still elevated compared to pre-coronavirus levels, and at this point, many Americans have exhausted their savings and are racking up scores of debt just to stay afloat. Between boosting jobless benefits, easing the burden of childcare costs, and sending out a more robust stimulus payment, Biden's plan could help a lot of families get through the next number of months.
But for Biden's proposal to go through, he needs the support of Congress, and that's the big question mark. Though Democrats now control the Senate, some lawmakers aren't thrilled about the idea of giving out those $1,400 stimulus checks without taking steps to ensure that aid is more targeted than it's been in the past.
Though many Americans have used their stimulus cash to pay for essential household expenses, some have been using that money for fun -- buying electronics or apparel, eating out, and so forth. It's the latter scenario that lawmakers are opposed to, but the problem is that determining which recipients actually need stimulus cash and which don't is an almost impossible task, and so it's easier and more efficient to just set income limits and get those checks out quickly -- even if it means giving money to a large chunk of people who aren't at all hurting.
In fact, some lawmakers have argued that at this point, extra stimulus cash should be limited to the jobless only. But Biden insists that many Americans who are still working are also experiencing their share of financial hardships, and so excluding those who are employed would be doing the public a huge disservice. Furthermore, some workers today may only be recently employed, having spent months out of a job, so denying them added stimulus money also wouldn't be equitable.
With Biden's inauguration happening today, we should expect a heavy pushing of his coronavirus relief agenda in the near term. Given the number of Americans who are struggling, that's a good thing.
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