by Dana George | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Dec. 24, 2020
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President-elect Joe Biden promises stimulus after the new year.
Uncertainty hangs over whether President Donald Trump will veto the recently-approved $900 billion stimulus package in time for Americans to receive much-needed relief. Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden has promised the package would only be the start of coronavirus relief.
Millions of Americans who lost their incomes during the pandemic are barely hanging on. COVID-19 decimated businesses across the country. And as coronavirus cases rise, so the economic situation worsens. Many of the benefits agreed in the CARES Act will run out at the end of the year if a new stimulus deal is not signed into law.
Speaking on Tuesday, Biden covered a wide range of topics, from vaccine distribution to cybersecurity concerns. He also insisted that more stimulus relief will come after his inauguration. Biden called the $900 billion in coronavirus relief a "down payment" on a bigger bill he believes is necessary.
"Congress did its job this week. And I can, and I must ask them to do it again next year," said Biden.
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The president-elect supports the current stimulus package as an essential, but temporary, solution -- like a financial bandage that will slow the economic devastation. Biden says his post-inauguration proposal will include more funding to expand COVID-19 testing and help frontline workers, like nurses, police officers, and firefighters.
His proposals, which would have to be approved by Congress, include another round of stimulus checks to the American public. He did not put a figure on the size of the check, saying it would have to be negotiated.
Biden spoke of the number of Americans who are "desperately hurting." He encouraged Americans to consider skipping their traditional holiday gatherings to minimize the risk of spreading the life-threatening virus. "Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us," he warned.
While Biden praised lawmakers for passing the bipartisan package, he also agreed with Trump's latest assessment that the $600 stimulus checks are not enough.
To put that $600 in perspective, the CARES Act authorized a payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per eligible dependent. Single filers earning $75,000 or less and married filers earning $150,000 or less received checks for the full amount.
Americans made good use of the first check, with 40% of the money going to cover necessities. The remaining money was used to pay down debt and bolster savings, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
But that money has now been spent and the second check of $600 will only go so far. That's why Biden plans to push for a third stimulus check in the next pandemic relief bill.
Unfortunately, talk of a third stimulus bill must wait until this package has been signed into law. On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted a threat to reject the last-minute stimulus package that had been approved by Congress. The $2.3 trillion spending bill includes $1.4 trillion to keep the government up and running, $740 billion in defense spending, and the $900 billion coronavirus relief package.
It is unclear whether Trump will indeed veto the spending, or how this situation will play out. Americans waiting for a stimulus check to hit their bank accounts may have to wait a little longer. Assuming the bill does pass, it's good to know the incoming president wants to get even more help to the American people.
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