President-elect Joe Biden outlined his proposal for the first coronavirus relief package that could be passed during his administration in an address Thursday. The $1.9 trillion proposal includes a third direct payment to Americans, costing $1,400 this time. Although this is far shy of the $2,000 Democrats and President Donald Trump supported in December, Americans would see a combined $2,000 between the new payment and the second check, which was just $600. The timetable for receiving the checks all depends on when Congress would pass the legislation.
The Senate is scheduled to reconvene on Jan. 20, the same day Biden is inaugurated as the country's 46th president. The Democratic Party will hold a very slim majority once Georgia's two new Senators are sworn in, as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as the tie-breaking vote. However, Biden's legislation will need 10 Republican Senators to support the bill for it to pass, which is one reason why the bill's cost is just barely under $2 trillion. On Monday, Biden said he spoke with Republicans about passing another stimulus package "sooner than later," reports USA Today.
However, that's getting ahead of the situation, as Biden needs to first pass the proposal he outlined Thursday evening. Alec Phillips, a political economist with Goldman Sachs, told CBS News the first package could be passed between mid-February and mid-March. Once it passes Congress, Biden will have to sign it. Then, it will be up to the IRS to distribute the funds. After the CARES Act was signed in March 2020, Americans began seeing payments via direct deposit in April. The $600 checks went out in December, and Americans saw them arrive via direct deposit about a week after Trump finally signed the legislation.
Although $1,400 is not the $2,000 payment Democrats pushed for in December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and future Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said they would "get right to work" to get the proposal passed. "These proposals by the Biden-Harris administration will be critical to getting our country through this challenging period and towards a period of recovery," Schumer and Pelosi said. "These proposals by the Biden-Harris administration will be critical to getting our country through this challenging period and towards a period of recovery."
More than 10 million Americans have become unemployed during the pandemic, and another 140,000 jobs were lost in December. In addition to the direct payment, Biden's proposal includes an expansion of 14 weeks paid sick and family and medical leave, $25 billion in rental assistance, $5 billion to help home energy and water costs, $15 billion to fund new grants for small businesses and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Biden also called for a $400 federal unemployment boost to run through September 2021, reports CNBC.