by Christy Bieber | Feb. 23, 2021
As lawmakers move their stimulus bill forward, experts are voicing support.
Democrats are moving swiftly to provide $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans. The House is expected to vote this week on a newly-drafted $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that would authorize these checks, as well as many other forms of financial relief including additional help for the unemployed.
Once the stimulus legislation passes the House, it will then move quickly to the Senate. There, passage through a process called reconciliation is likely. This process enables the bill to pass with just 51 votes. As a result, Democrats -- who hold 50 out of 100 seats -- can pass it without the Republican support necessary to overcome a filibuster of ordinary legislation as the vice president can cast the tie-breaking 51st vote.
As lawmakers on the left act quickly to deliver direct payments to Americans, they're benefitting from ample support from powerful voices. In fact, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as well as Walmart's CEO have both made clear in recent days that they believe swift delivery of stimulus payments is essential.
Although many Republican leaders have questioned whether another large-scale relief bill is really necessary so soon after a $908 billion bill passed in December, plenty of experts believe the Biden administration is taking the correct path in offering expansive financial assistance.
Doug McMillon, Walmart's CEO, is one of them. McMillion visited the White House recently to encourage the president to deliver more coronavirus relief. Because Walmart is such a large retailer, the company has insight into how stimulus affects consumer spending patterns -- and McMillion made clear that their data shows people need more financial assistance.
"We can see in our customer behavior that some customers -- as they received this most recent stimulus -- are spending it more on basics," McMillion said in an interview on Squawk Alley. He went on to explain that the money was used differently than the first payment authorized under the CARES Act in late March. That initial stimulus check was more likely to have been spent on items -- such as TVs -- to provide entertainment at home during coronavirus lockdowns.
The shift in how consumers have used their stimulus funds shows that "customers out there do need some help," McMillion explained in the interview. He brought this message to the White House during a meeting with other business leaders and representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- all of whom also urged additional assistance for American families.
McMillion and his fellow industry leaders aren't the only ones who believe another direct payment is crucial for both individuals and the economy.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also said on Monday that the $1,400 payments would really help to "make sure that pockets of misery, that we know exist out there, that aren't touched by more targeted things, that help is provided there as well," She went on to indicate that "I believe we're going to be better off for it, and that it's the right thing to do."
This push from leading experts is likely to bolster the conviction among those on the left that bold action is needed to help ensure economic recovery. Democrats have already made clear they are eager to fulfill their campaign promises and get money into people's bank accounts as soon as they can. With so much support for stimulus checks, there's little chance they'll be deterred from reaching this goal.
The good news for those awaiting relief is, they'll be able to fulfill their promise to provide help as long as they don't lose any votes from their members in the Senate. Since the COVID-19 stimulus bill is the first big legislation the Biden administration has put forth -- and since there's a tight deadline before expanded unemployment benefits run out -- it's very likely that they'll have those votes do what these experts heed and get more stimulus money flowing quickly.
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