Joe Biden has said in the past that he supported coronavirus stimulus checks “should conditions require.” Where does he stand on them now that he is president-elect?
Neither Biden nor Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has mentioned stimulus checks specifically since the presidential election last week. However, Biden’s campaign website still indicates support for stimulus relief, and one of his first acts as president-elect was to announce the formation of a coronavirus task force.
Here’s what you need to know:
Where Biden & Harris Stand on a Stimulus Relief Package
Biden’s official website indicates he would do the following to remedy the pandemic-induced crisis in America:
- Provide another stimulus check “should conditions require.”
- Forgive $10,000 minimum per person of federal student loans.
- Increase monthly Social Security checks by $200 each.
- Offer emergency paid sick leave to every American worker.
- Ensure that no one has to pay out of pocket for COVID-19 testing, treatment or vaccine.
- Provide “all necessary fiscal relief to states.”
Biden’s economic plan does acknowledge the possibility of stimulus payments, saying a proposal “could include cash payments to working families,” but that’s as specific as the president-elect has gotten so far.
CNET reported that “Biden’s plan … will include more direct stimulus payments, but it doesn’t specify how many or for how much, or if any of the qualifications would change” from those laid out in the CARES Act in March.
Biden & Harris Are Expected to Announce Details of Their Stimulus Check Plan This Week
According to CNET, the Biden transition team is set to announce more concrete details on its stimulus plan, including details around stimulus check amount and eligibility, this week. However, there’s something else to consider with the president-elect’s proposed stimulus package: whether the Senate will be under Republican control come 2021.
If Biden has to contend with a Republican-led Senate under the leadership of current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, then it’s more than likely the White House will face an uphill climb in delivering any substantial stimulus package to the American people. McConnell has consistently stonewalled House Democrats, and even the Trump administration, with stimulus packages, insisting that the cost of the package should be far lower than they’ve offered.
Most recently, McConnell cited the recent jobs report, which shows the U.S. unemployment rate shrinking to 6.9%. On November 6, McConnell told reporters in Kentucky, “I think it reinforces the argument that I’ve been making the last few months, that something smaller – rather than throwing another $3 trillion at this issue – is more appropriate.”
Does Harris Still Support Monthly Stimulus Payments?
Over the spring and summer, then-Democratic vice-presidential candidate Harris repeatedly pushed for a stimulus package that would provide monthly payments of $2,000 or more to eligible Americans. However, since Biden tapped Harris to join his team in August, Harris has not made a single comment on whether she still supports monthly payments.
The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act was introduced by Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Ed Markey in May. The Act would provide $2,000 per month to eligible individuals and $4,000 monthly to married couples who file jointly, along with an additional $2,000 per child, up to three children.
Any individual earning under $120,000 would be eligible for the plan. Under the plan, payments would be reduced for income over $100,000 for individuals or $200,000 for married couples. The payments would be phased out by 10% of any amount over these limits.
This plan would send a payment to every U.S. citizen, even those without a Social Security number and those who haven’t filed a recent tax return. Debt collectors would not be allowed to seize the money.
This plan means that a married couple with a combined income of $200,000 or less with three or more children would receive $10,000 a month — but that doesn’t account for the retroactive payments back to March called for in the proposal.
It’s unlikely at this point that Harris will push her previous plan, given that Biden has never once mentioned his support for the notion of monthly stimulus payments and Harris hasn’t mentioned them in months. It’s also possible that the recent news about a possible Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 could decrease congressional support for a big stimulus package.