As President Biden was sworn into office last month he announced that one of his priorities was for Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to help offset the economic damage as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Biden’s relief package includes an increase in the federal boost to unemployment checks – up to $400 per week, rental assistance and an eviction moratorium, a 15% increase in food stamp benefits, more money for child care, subsidies for health insurance premiums, and more. One of the most popular provisions of President Biden’s package includes additional direct payments to the majority of Americans. The plan calls for an additional $1,400 in direct payments to add to the $600 that was approved by Congress in December and sent to Americans last month.
Stimulus Money is Popular
Americans have greatly struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, economically, mentally, and physically. One of the most popular relief provisions passed by Congress, both last spring and this past December was the stimulus provision. People greatly appreciated, and needed, the cash in hand. So, further stimulus support by the Biden-Harris Administration is popular.
According to a Forbes Advisor article, “A new survey by YouGov for Forbes Advisor asked Americans what type of aid would help both their own personal finances and the economy endure the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Nearly half of respondents are in favor of a one-time payment of $2,000 per family member—much more than any other proposed form of relief, including mortgage and rent payment relief, student loan forgiveness and unemployment benefits.”
The Forbes Advisor study also found that survey respondents thinks a stimulus provision will help bolster the economy. “Forty-six percent of respondents think a one-time payment of $2,000 per family member will best bolster their own personal finances, more than any other option presented. That dovetails what Americans think would also help bolster the U.S. economy; 39% of respondents said a one-time payment of $2,000 per family member will help prop up the economy while the coronavirus pandemic continues.”
The Forbes Advisor findings don’t come as a surprise. A December 2020 Vox article stated that in a poll they conducted along with DFP, “The top stimulus provision that most likely voters are interested in seeing is another round of stimulus checks: 75 percent of poll respondents said this was what they’d want prioritized in another package.”
With the monthly jobs reports down at the end of the Trump Administration and the popularity of stimulus checks among Americans, it seems like it would be a slam dunk to get President Biden’s proposed relief package passed in Congress. That, however, doesn’t look to be the case.
In spite of the fact that Democrats have gained a couple of seats in the Senate and have the ability to pass relief legislation, Republicans are wary to support Biden’s $1.9 trillion package. Instead, Republicans have proposed a $600 billion counteroffer to Biden’s plan. The two sides plan to meet in the coming days and weeks to see if cooperation is possible.
So while it remains to be seen what kind of relief package is passed, Americans are crossing their fingers that relief checks are a part of that. As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently said, “The president is absolutely right. The price of doing nothing is much higher than the price of doing something, and doing something big. We need to act now, and the benefits of acting now and acting big will far outweigh the costs in the long run.”