The country might currently be hyper-focused on the horrific events that took place in the nation’s capital on January 6, but in just a little over a week, as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office, the focus on passing yet another COVID-19 relief package will likely be renewed.
Biden held nothing back on Friday as he sent a strong signal that not only is he interested in getting American citizens their $2,000 stimulus checks, but that “the price tag will be high” for the next relief package. The Democrat characterized the most recent COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress as nothing more than a “down payment.”
Trillions of dollars?
In remarks made in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday, Biden suggested that the next economic relief package would easily be in the realm of “trillions” of dollars and that it would definitely include another round of direct stimulus payments, the Washington Examiner reported.
“We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting the people $2,000 in relief,” Biden said.
Biden went on to recount the recession he and former President Barack Obama faced when they entered office in 2009, pointing to a recent dismal December jobs report that indicated an economic downturn.
“In many ways, the jobs report is a pandemic report,” Biden remarked, adding “We’re going to get through this. Help is on the way.”
The former vice president also promised to reenergize the progressive push for a federal $15 per hour minimum wage, claiming that “people in both parties” understand the need to raise wages across the country.
It’s not just Senate Republicans who have pushed back on the idea of yet another, multi-trillion-dollar COVID-19 relief package.
According to the Washington Post, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a moderate Democrat, expressed his concerns over the idea of pumping out another $400 billion in direct stimulus payments alone.
“I don’t know where in the hell $2,000 came from. I swear to God I don’t. That’s another $400 billion dollars,” Manchin said. He did, however, signal that he might be willing to sign on if he can be convinced that the money would genuinely stimulate the American economy and if there’s language in the bill that would prioritize Americans getting vaccinated first.
Numerous Democrats from both chambers of Congress have vowed to include untold billions in the next bill that would be allocated to state and local governments, which was a deal-breaker for Republicans in the last go-around, as they argued that the money allocated for state and local governments had nothing to do with COVID-19 relief.
Many Republicans, meanwhile, would prefer to see state-imposed lockdowns lifted, reopening the economy and allowing Americans to go back to work, rather than taking on an ever-ballooning load of debt.