WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — We should learn this week if the $2,000 COVID-relief checks promised by President-elect Biden will be part of his first stimulus package as president.
All signs point to “yes” and it should become official when Biden unveils his stimulus plan on Thursday. While the current price tag of the package is unknown, it is expected to include an extension of unemployment assistance, aid to local and state governments, a boost for small businesses, funding for vaccine distribution and schools, and the largest direct payment check yet.
“My priority is to get, first and foremost, a stimulus bill passed and secondly, again to rebuild the economy,” Biden said on Monday. “I’ve been speaking with some of my Republican colleagues about being able to move on a second package sooner than later.”
Analysts say the voting on Biden’s stimulus plan should give us insight on whether or not Republicans will work with the Democratic majority or collectively draw a line in the sand.
West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin has indicated he’s not in favor of the large checks going out. Last week he told the Washington post, “absolutely not” on the idea of direct payments with that high of a financial figure that aren’t specifically targeted.
A few days later, he seemed to temper his tone during an appearance on CNN.
“That’s not a yes or no question,” Manchin told Jake Tapper Sunday. “How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed? And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check.”
Last week, Biden told voters in Georgia that if Democrats won those races, $2,000 stimulus checks would be on their way to most Americans.
That ended up happening, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reinforced that money was on its way.
“One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families,” Schumer, who will become majority leader, said Wednesday.
Previously, the GOP-controlled Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been the biggest hurdle for getting larger direct payments passed.
So when could this $2,000 payment become a reality? Probably early February at the earliest. The results in Georgia would first need to be certified before the new senators take their seats. It’s expected that Republicans will file appeals to those results. The deadline to certify results is January 22, according to Yahoo News.