The proposal is scheduled to be formally unveiled this week. Here's what we know so far.
The plan will almost certainly include a provision to increase the amount of the second round of direct payments (that is, stimulus checks) from $600 to $2,000, though it’s not yet clear if the eligibility requirements for the larger payments will change.
It will also include more state and local aid (a provision that was left out of the most recent $900 billion package in the wake of vehement objections from the GOP), Bloomberg reported, as well as a further expansion of enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
There will also be more money for vaccine distribution, schools, rental assistance, small business aid and tax credits, Bloomberg reported, with provisions pulled from a $3.4 trillion bill the House of Representatives passed in May that the Republican run Senate never even considered.
It's passage faces tough pressure from the GOP and... cough... Joe Manchin. Margins are razor thin in the Senate. There will also be some wrangling over what in it can be passed via reconciliation.
The success of large parts of Biden’s plan (those eligible under a process called budget reconciliation) will hinge on the full support of every Democratic senator after last week’s runoff elections in Georgia—with control of the Senate now split 50-50 (and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker vote), Biden cannot afford to lose even one Democratic vote on a massive spending plan that almost all, if not all, Republicans are sure to oppose.
The push for $2,000 checks is already facing some pushback from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a conservative Democrat whose vote will be critical and who signaled last week that he might be opposed to the larger checks if they are not more narrowly targeted to those who have actually lost jobs and income.
It’s also not clear that all of the big-ticket items that Biden and Democrats want—including the state and local aid they say is critical for recovery—would fall under the reconciliation umbrella, meaning that 60 votes and some Republican support may be necessary for those provisions to pass.
The timing would be decent if a little late, as the recovery is sputtering.
I'll update this once the full proposal is available.
Edit: Details have now been released. I'm happy to see UI extended and some assistance for state and local governments, both of which were sorely needed.
- Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including December's $600 payments
- Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September
- Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour
- Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September
- $350 billion in state and local government aid
- $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
- $50 billion toward Covid-19 testing
- $20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes
- Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6)