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Here’s what you need to know about the president-elect’s stimulus plans.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to reveal plans for an ambitious coronavirus relief bill today. Members of the Biden team have been touting the plan for weeks, with Biden indicating it will likely have a high price tag in order to deliver the relief that those on the left believe Americans need during the pandemic.

After the president-elect’s plan is introduced, it is likely to pass quickly in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also made clear that passing a coronavirus relief bill is going to be a top priority for the upper chamber.

However, the fate of the bill is less certain in the Senate where Democrats have the slimmest possible majority — especially as some conservative Democrats have expressed reservations about certain aspects of the bill. It is possible, however, that the proposal may get some bipartisan support, depending on exactly what it includes.

Here’s what you need to know about what Biden’s plan is likely to include, as well as the chances of getting a $2,000 check in your bank account in the coming weeks.

Here’s what will likely be included in the new coronavirus stimulus package

President-elect Biden’s stimulus plan is rumored to include:

  • $1,400 or $2,000 direct payments for Americans. Democrats campaigned on $2,000 checks. However, a recent letter sent by Senator Schumer to his Democratic colleagues indicated the new payment may be just $1,400 per adult, combining with the recently issued $600 payment to provide $2,000 total — rather than an additional $2,000 on top of the other stimulus aid.
  • Aid to state and local governments. This was left out of the last coronavirus relief bill because many Republicans object vehemently to it. It is a key Democratic priority. However, if rumors that Biden is hoping to pass the stimulus bill on a bipartisan basis are true, the administration may have to limit this provision of the bill to get support from across the aisle.
  • More money for schools and for vaccine distribution.
  • Help for small businesses. Some of this aid may be targeted to lower-income communities and industries hit hardest by the pandemic.
  • Rent forbearance.
  • An expansion of the child tax credit. Biden had previously proposed raising this credit to as much as $3,600 for some families. Increasing it, and making more of it refundable, have long been priorities on the left and the incoming president campaigned on this issue.

Here’s what will happen once the proposal is introduced

After Biden introduces his plans, it’s likely that the Democratic Congress will quickly draft legislation and bring it up for a vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer largely have control over what legislation comes to the floor, and their goal is to get relief to people as soon as possible.

However, while its passage in the House is all but certain, there are some obstacles in the Senate.

After the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the Senate will likely have to take up impeachment proceedings. This could slow down their ability to get stimulus legislation passed, although Schumer has indicated they will get it done and said that acting on stimulus is their first priority.

The stimulus plan would also need to get 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, and the Democrats control just 50 of the 100 seats (with Vice President Kamala Harris able to provide tie-breaking votes). The president-elect has said he’d prefer to pass stimulus on a bipartisan basis, but it’s not clear if it will be possible for the plan to garner enough support from the right.

One issue is that the plan is expected to cost in excess of $1 trillion, which is a limit many Republicans had previously indicated was a hard limit for the passage of another relief bill (and that was before the government passed a $900 billion bill in December). Because of its high price, it’s unclear if any Republicans will sign on. Republicans may also be unwilling to vote for any bill that sends billions to state governments, as some have expressed concern this is an effort to bail out “blue states” that have budget imbalances pre-dating COVID-19.

However, in an encouraging sign, Republican Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to the president-elect on Wednesday urging him to increase the recent $600 payment to $2,000. And he’s not the only one on the right who has spoken in favor of larger checks (they were also a priority for President Trump). If Biden tailors his bill narrowly enough, it is possible that it could be truly bipartisan.

If the new president isn’t able to get enough Republicans on board, though, that doesn’t doom the bill. The Democrats could potentially use a process called reconciliation to pass it with 51 votes, although this process has specific rules so it’s not clear that every component of Biden’s proposal would be able to be included if stimulus passed this way.

For now, however, the most important thing is that Americans waiting for stimulus news can expect to finally see details of the president-elect’s plans today.


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