Biden Won’t Back Down on $1,400 Covid Stimulus Checks, Psaki Says

Date: 2021-02-04 00:07:01


White House is stressing that President Joe Biden has been “clear there’s an urgency to delivering relief to the American people” as Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on the latest rescue plan.

The president has panned a Republican alternative to his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan as insufficient as Senate Democrats pushed ahead, voting to launch a process that could approve his sweeping rescue package on their own, if Republicans refuse to support it.

Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen joined the Democratic senators for a private virtual meeting Tuesday, both declaring the Republicans’ $618 billion offer was too small.

They urged big fast action to stem the coronavirus pandemic crisis and its economic fallout.

The two plans drastically diverge. Biden proposes $170 billion for schools, compared to $20 billion in the Republican plan. Republicans also would give nothing to states, money that Democrats argue is just as important, with $350 billion in Biden’s plan to keep police, fire and other workers on the job.

The GOP’s $1,000 direct payments would go to fewer households, individuals earning up to $40,000 a year, or $80,000 for couples. That’s less than Biden’s proposal of $1,400 direct payments at higher income levels, up to $300,000 for some households.

The Republicans offer $40 billion for Paycheck Protection Program business aid. But gone are Democratic priorities such as a gradual lifting of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“The president, having served in the Senate for 36 years, fully recognizes that the bill he proposed that he did about a primetime address on two weeks ago, that may not look exactly like the bill that comes out,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Wednesday.

“He knows that that’s part of the legislative process. So further targeting means not the size of the check. It means the the the the income level of people who receive the check. And that’s something that has been under discussion, has been a conclusion, but certainly is open to having that discussion.”

Psaki also talked about the president’s hope of getting children back to school around the country.

This comes as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says schools can safely reopen even if teachers are not vaccinated for the coronavirus.

As some teachers’ unions balk at resuming in-person instruction before teachers are inoculated, Dr. Rochelle Walensky says, “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.”

Walensky cited CDC data showing that social distancing and wearing a mask significantly reduce the spread of the virus in school settings.

President Biden has pledged to ensure nearly all K-8 schools will reopen for in-person instruction in the first 100 days of his administration.

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