Democrats face a complicated scenario, mainly in the Senate, where leader Chuck Schumer is evaluating how to approve President Biden’s financial package, which focuses on infrastructure and support for families.
While the idea of a fourth stimulus check is still up in the air, other economic plans are on the table for congressional discussion with high reluctance from Republicans and a complicated scenario for Democrats, mainly Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.).
On a new round of payments similar to the $1,400 American Recovery Plan (ARP), President Joe Biden has been openly on the sidelines, but according to spokeswoman Jen Psaki, he is “open to ideas” from members of Congress on the next steps to recover the pandemic-stricken economy.
“He’s happy to hear a variety of ideas about what would be most effective and what’s most important for moving the economy forward,” Psaki said.
However, he considered that the economic package of almost $4 trillion dollars is the plan that interests the President now, especially because the investments established with the American Jobs Plan and the Plan for American Families are multi-year, long-term investments and contemplate direct aid to families. The Child Tax Credit is one of the supports they contemplate, as it will allow for up to $300 per month per child under the age of 17.
“He has also proposed what he believes will be the most effective in the short term to get people back to work, to get us through this crucial period of time and also to make us more competitive in the long term,” Psaki said last week.
Schumer is looking for the best option to move forward with President Biden’s plan, following the breakdown of negotiations the president had with Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), who is leading a $928 billion plan instead of the $1.7 trillion for infrastructure proposed by President Biden.
The main problem for the Democrats is that the Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, ruled that they have only one opportunity to apply the Reconciliation rule this year, so they will have to evaluate how to do it, especially since they also intend an immigration reform justified on economic grounds.
President Biden wants a bipartisan plan, but the scenarios are bleak for Schumer.
“He is personally leaning in, willing to compromise, spending time with senators, Democrats and Republicans, to figure out what the art of the possible is,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNN. “The one thing he won’t accept is inaction…It’s got to be big and bold, $1 trillion or more.”
And another check?
The scenario is uncertain for an additional round of aid similar to the $1,400, although most Americans also favor the payments, as according to a January Data For Progress poll, nearly two-thirds of all voters support monthly payments of $2,000 to all Americans for the duration of the pandemic, one of the plans even proposed by Vice President Kamala Harris when she was a California senator.
Economists, too, believe that distributing more direct funds to Americans would help the poorest families, as indicated by a report from the Tax Policy Center, which suggests even a fifth stimulus check, but targeted to low-income people, which would help lift 28 million people out of poverty.
“We model two options for additional payments of $1,400. One would begin phasing out at lower income levels, which we call the faster phase-out payment,” the report says. “The other payment option we modeled would replicate the ARP payment thresholds and limit eligibility to citizens.”
So far at least 80 members of Congress, mostly Democrats in the House, support a fourth stimulus check, but the high-profile Democratic senators who pushed the idea have not revisited the issue, focused on other negotiations. They include Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and Bernie Sanders (Vermont), who is also chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
The most recent letter from the representatives was sent on May 17, signed by members of the House Ways and Means Committee, but without the endorsement of House Chairman Richard Neal (Mass.).
Jimmy Gomez – and signed by six others – promotes the extension of the unemployment insurance bonus, which ends in September, as well as a fourth and fifth stimulus check.