WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden unveiled the “American Rescue Plan” Thursday that includes $1,400 checks, which on top of the $600 payment, would bring the total to the $2,000.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package is expected to speed up the vaccine rollout, extend unemployment assistance, aid local and state governments, allot funds for small businesses, schools, and the third round of stimulus checks.
Along with the $1,400 checks for many Americans, the plan would also extend a temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September. And it shoehorns in the long-term Democratic policy aim of increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and expanding paid leave for workers across the economy.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said Biden’s proposal will be his first order of business this year. The emergency legislation would be paid for with borrowed money, adding to trillions in debt the government has already incurred to confront the pandemic.
Aides said Biden will make the case that the additional spending and borrowing is necessary to prevent the economy from sliding into an even deeper hole. Interest rates are low, making debt more manageable. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the plan ahead of his speech Thursday night.
Biden has long held that economic recovery is inextricably linked with controlling the coronavirus. “Our work begins with getting COVID under control,” he declared in his victory speech. “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality or relish life’s most precious moments.”
Analysts say the voting on Biden’s stimulus plan should give Americans insight on whether or not Republicans will work with the Democratic majority or collectively draw a line in the sand.
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 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 said.
Previously, the GOP-controlled Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the biggest hurdle for getting larger direct payments passed.
Many Americans can expect $1,400 checks likely as early as February.
The results in Georgia’s runoff election would first need to be certified before the new senators take their seats. The deadline to certify results is Jan. 22.
Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.