President Biden told House Democrats Wednesday that while he remains committed to delivering $1,400 stimulus checks as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package, he was willing to compromise on who would be eligible to receive them.
Biden delivered that message to the House Democratic Caucus, Politico reported, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the president’s flexibility on not paying the full $1,400 to Americans above a certain income level.
“Further targeting means not the size of the check, it means the income level of people who receive the check,” Psaki told reporters at a briefing Wednesday. “That’s something that has been under discussion. There hasn’t been a conclusion, but certainly he’s open to discussion.”
Before he was inaugurated, Biden announced his support for $2,000 stimulus checks for every American. Congress, however, passed a much more modest bill that delivered checks of $600. The plan Biden has put forth since becoming president has sought to pay Americans an additional $1,400 so as to make up the balance of his original proposal.
“The president’s plan would fulfill his promise to get $2,000 checks to hard-hit Americans and insure that, for example, a kindergarten teacher making $60,000 a year isn’t left without additional support,” Psaki said.
A competing plan, outlined on Monday by 10 Republican senators who met with Biden at the White House, falls far short of the amounts proposed by the president. It calls for roughly $600 billion in spending, less than a third of what Biden is asking Congress to approve, in part because those lawmakers argue that additional aid for Americans is not needed across the board.
Psaki contrasted the two proposals on Wednesday and cited a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Monday that showed 74 percent of Americans favored Biden’s proposal for stimulus checks totaling $2,000.
“The president’s plan would give Americans out of work through no fault of their own a $400 weekly supplement and the certainty that it would last through the worst of the pandemic,” Psaki said, adding that the plan put forth by 10 Republican senators failed to provide funds to state and local governments as well as rental assistance and an extended moratorium on evictions.
Still, Biden’s apparent concession on withholding $1,400 checks for Americans above an as-yet-to-be-specified income level is a sign that the White House is prepared to reach a compromise with Republicans in the Senate.
“The president, having served in the Senate for 36 years, fully recognizes that the bill he proposed, that he did a primetime address on two weeks ago, that may not look exactly like the bill that comes out,” Psaki said.
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