Joe Biden laid out 4 priorities for another stimulus package once he takes office. But he's up against Republicans who don't want more relief spending.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks on Electoral College's electoral certification process at The Queen Theater on December 14, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
President-elect Joe Biden begins drafting another pandemic relief package.
The measures that Biden supported included more stimulus checks, public health insurance, and improved unemployment insurance.
But its ambitions will clash with Senate Republicans who may not be inclined to support more aid spending.
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Congress recently approved a $ 900 billion bailout after a series of tumultuous negotiations over the past three weeks. (The package has yet to be signed by President Donald Trump.) However, the legislation was preceded by months of political dysfunction amid a raging pandemic and economic calamity for millions of Americans.
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However, President-elect Joe Biden is betting that he can break the deadlock and usher in a new era of compromise.
Less than 24 hours after Congress approved a contingency plan, it is signaling its intention to corral both parties to get behind another agreement to prop up a slowing economy.
In a speech on Tuesday, Biden began setting his priorities for another bailout package after he was sworn in on Jan. 20. He warned the nation's "darkest days" battle the impending pandemic, calling the $ 900 billion bill "a down payment."
"The things that still need to be done, from people needing unemployment insurance to being able to get access to health care and get people treated for free, the public will not do any of that for us not to ", he said.
Actions he indicated support for include:
Stimulus tests of an indefinite amount
Aid to state and local governments
Means for virus testing and vaccine distribution
Expansion of the extended unemployment insurance
Biden also took the opportunity to pay tribute to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont - a former rival in the 2020 Democratic primary - alongside Senate Republicans for including the $ 600 stimulus checks in aid laws.
“I think you can see that there is a clear understanding that these issues are beyond any ideology. People are desperately hurt,” he said. "The Republicans hurt as much as the Democrats."
Biden's remarks reflect the urgency of the Democrats as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on communities and businesses. Both Senate minority chairman Chuck Schumer and House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said after announcing a long-awaited stimulus agreement, they would urge further help once Biden is revealed.
But the drive to get another aid package is guaranteed to clash with Senate Republicans who may not be inclined to support a large round of emergency spending. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that further negotiations with the new White House in Biden could take place last week.
"We all know that the new administration will ask for another package," said McConnell. "It's not that we won't have another opportunity in the near future to discuss the benefits of liability reform and state and local government."
McConnell has indicated that he would like liability cover to protect companies from pandemic-related lawsuits, while Democrats want more aid to financially troubled state and local governments. But more talks may not lead to the ambitious spending that Democrats want.
Some Republicans, such as Senator Ted Cruz from Texas and Senator Rick Scott from Florida, have been calling for a tightening of the growing budget deficit in recent months.
Legislature approved record spending of $ 3.3 trillion on emergency spending this year to contain the pandemic and ease the blow to troubled businesses and struggling Americans. Most of that came from the CARES Act of $ 2.2 trillion in March, which sent millions of Americans $ 1,200 in checks and helped small businesses, among other things.
Many economists say the $ 900 billion bill is only a short bridge early next year when vaccines are expected to reach a small segment of the public. They argue that more federal aid is needed.
"We have done a lot. But there is a lot more to do," tweeted Ernie Tedeschi, political economist at Evercore ISI, recently. "The new bill helps. But we are still a long way from the forest and there are still risks and pitfalls."
Many new auxiliary provisions will only end a few months after 2021. For example, part of the increased unemployment benefit expires in mid-March.
Whether Republicans support Biden's quest for more federal aid depends on the Biden government's efforts to contain the pandemic and the general health of the economy.
"If we address the critical needs now, and things start to improve over the next year, when the vaccine hits the market and the economy picks up again, you know, the need may be less," said Senator John Thune of South Dakota Republican Secondary the Senate said last week.
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