President-elect Joe Biden has renewed calls for $2,000 direct payments to be included in the next CCP virus stimulus measures.
“$600 is simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table. We need $2,000 stimulus checks,” Biden said in a Twitter post on Jan. 10.
He also mentioned on Jan. 8 the need for $2,000 direct payments for most Americans to address the CCP virus pandemic, which has devastated the country economically.
“We need more direct relief flowing to families and small businesses, including finishing the job and getting people $2,000 in relief,” Biden said during a speech to announce his economic team nominations.
Efforts to increase stimulus checks in the last COVID-19 relief measures from $600 to $2,000 failed after the Republican-majority Senate pushed back on efforts to increase the payments. The House had already voted to increase the stimulus checks following demands by President Donald Trump to boost the payments.
At the time, Trump had demanded lawmakers reconsider foreign spending in the omnibus bill that he characterized as “wasteful,” while increasing the direct payments to U.S. families.
“Increase payments to the people, get rid of the ‘pork,’” Trump wrote early on Dec. 27, while posting a video to say he would likely veto the stimulus package.
He eventually signed the $2.3 trillion emergency relief package, after reaching agreement with Congress over stimulus checks and other demands.
With Democratic candidates winning both seats during the Georgia runoff election on Jan. 5, Democrats will have 50 seats in the Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, would cast tie-breaking votes.
But at least one Senate Democrat has expressed opposition for $2,000 direct payments. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told The Washington Post on Jan. 8 that he was “absolutely” opposed to a new round of checks and that he was only open to checks for a narrow group of people.
“If they can direct money and they say, ‘This will help stimulate the economy,’ … I’m for it,” Manchin said. “But basically right now, you better get them vaccinated.”
In a Twitter post on Jan. 8, Manchin said, “If the next round of stimulus checks goes out they should be targeted to those who need it.”
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had previously said that he supports Trump’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks. If Manchin opposes, Senate Democrats may need the help from Senate Republicans to pass a potential measure. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have previously said they would back a measure for $2,000 checks.
Congress’s last omnibus and COVID-19 funding package garnered widespread scrutiny over its foreign aid spending. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being sent as forms of aid to foreign countries and other forms of American engagement abroad, according to the omnibus bill.
Trump previously raised concerns that a significant amount was going to other countries instead of to struggling Americans.
“This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, $134 million to Burma, $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment, $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan, $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama,” he said at the time.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.