Will There Be $ 2,000 COVID Relief Checks?
With the Democratic victory in the second round of the Senate, which changed the balance of power in Washington, Joe Biden’s legislative agenda suddenly took on a new lease of life. So what about those $ 2,000 checks for COVID relief – can we really expect to get more money anytime soon?
Last December, the House of Representatives easily passed the Cash Act – a bill that would raise incentive checks in December’s COVID relief bill from $ 600 to $ 2,000 – but it was not passed in the Republican-controlled Senate after Mitch McConnell refused. put it to a vote. Now that the House and Senate are in Democratic hands, the usual hurdles have been removed (although, to be fair, President Trump also pushed for $ 2,000 checks).
Earlier this week in Georgia, President-elect Biden made it very clear that emergency relief would be a priority, stating:
“If you send John and his Reverend to Washington, those checks for $ 2,000 will fall out. And if you send Senator Purdue and [Kelly] Leffler back to Washington, those checks will never get there. It is so simple. The power is literally in your hands. “
New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also confirmed Wednesday that aid checks will be high on the legislature’s agenda:
“The first thing I want to do when our new senators sit down is deliver checks for $ 2,000 to American families.”
However, the bill has critics, including moderate Democrats. Some argue that the bill is a crude instrument, poorly targeted at those who need it most, as checks will be sent to people who have not lost their jobs or income during the pandemic, adding billions to the federal deficit.
So will legislation on aid audits be enacted?
This looks promising, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The House of Representatives has already passed the Cash Act by a two-thirds majority, so we know that passing a new aid bill shouldn’t be an issue (although it should be a new bill – no Senate vote, CASH Expired).
Senate adoption of the bill is less confident, however, as it is now split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting a decisive vote if required. With such a small margin, there is no guarantee that this measure will be taken, especially since 60 votes are required to thwart a pirate . The Democrats’ weak edge has already been compromised as Senate Democrat Joe Manchin opposed the $ 2,000 checks . However, the new law could also garner support from the Republicans. According to American Prospect :
At least one Republican (Josh Hawley of Missouri) and several Democrats said there were 60 votes in favor of the measure last week. If the Senate chooses a majority leader who is willing to put the scrutiny in place, chances are high that he will pass.
A separate aid bill probably has a better chance of getting through, but it remains to be seen what shape it will take, or even if it will actually be $ 2,000 (there has been talk of $ 1,400 checks, which along with the $ 600 sent out this month ). , will be $ 2,000 between two bills).
Congressional aides told the Washington Post that the bailout package is “in its early stages,” so we don’t know if the bailout bill will also include funding to support cash-strapped states or an extension of unemployment benefits. So far, Senator Schumer declined to say which way the Democrats would go.
How soon can we expect checks?
As the Washington Post notes, it is unclear how quickly Congress will be able to vote on checks. Obviously, the vote will have to wait until the January 20 inauguration day, but confirmation of the Georgia Senate election results is still in limbo – it is not yet clear if this process will be delayed due to calls from the GOP. There is also the potential for additional delays if checks are bundled into a larger assistance package that includes more controversial items.
Suffice it to say that when to expect these checks to get approved is a guessing game, but a reasonable bet – early to mid-February.