US President Joe Biden has confirmed that Americans will begin to receive their $1,400 stimulus checks starting this month. The announcement comes after Democrats in the Senate passed a huge $1.9 trillion COVID relief package despite objections from the GOP. Biden said that the plan right now is to get the “checks out of the door starting months.”
The president also noted that the situation out there is desperate, saying that there are Americans who “are lying at bed staring at the ceiling” not knowing if they will keep their jobs or not. Biden reminded voters that during his campaign for office, he promised each American that indeed “help was on the way.”
The passage of the COVID relief bill that will deliver needed aid to American families is seen by many as the fulfillment of that promise. The stimulus package includes an array of things but most importantly, it will deliver direct payments of $1,400 to Americans earning up to $80,000 a year or couples that earn less than $160,000 a year.
The package will also seek to provide $300 a week in jobless aid all through the summer. Democrats had sought to include a clause that would have increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour into the bill but had to drop it in light of growing resistance in the senate. Biden notes that the US has suffered for too long in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it was time for leaders to put in more effort to remedy the ongoing situation.
Despite this, senate republicans have maintained that the taxpayer bill on the COVID package is just too high. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his opposition to the bill arguing that Democrats have included a lot of unnecessary stuff in there. It should be noted though that the GOP started working on a COID-19 relief bill in the run-up to the election last year.
However, the party could not agree on the amount of money to send to needy Americans. While the president at the time Donald Trump was in favor of higher stimulus checks, a rare agreement with Democrats, senate Republicans failed to agree on a consensus. The relief package was later passed by a GOP-dominated Senate only to be vetoed by president Trump.
But in January this year, Democrats took control of the Senate after winning two special elections in Georgia. This meant now that they had the power to pass legislation in line with Biden’s priorities. Even though there were times the relief package hit a snag even in a democratic senate majority, it was a matter of time before it passed.
Many political pundits are calling this Biden’s first legislative victory. The president’s approval ratings are also very high at roughly 57% and with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout now in full force, this is expected to remain steady or go higher. The Biden administration is hoping to roll out vaccines to all US citizens by the end of May.