While former Vice President Joe Biden has not yet been officially sworn in as president, he has already shared guidance for Congress as they strive to negotiate yet another stimulus relief plan. On Nov. 16, Biden issued remarks about the economy's state, urging Congress to take action on another payment package. But, will Congress be able to make Biden's relief goals a reality before the end of the year?
During his remarks last Monday, Biden said Congress should come together to pass a package comparable to the HEROES Act — a $3 trillion stimulus package that was passed in the Democrat-led House in May but made no further headway. He did not get into specifics about a new package but reportedly supports another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. The President-elect also addressed the need to help the "millions of Americans who've lost hours and wages, or have lost their jobs" and that it should be done as soon as possible. The HEROES Act that passed in the House would extend pandemic unemployment assistance. Biden also acknowledged a variety of other topics pertaining to the next stimulus package, saying that there needs to be more financing for state and local governments, assistance for small business owners, and "affordable healthcare" including childcare and sick leave measures.
Despite the fact that Biden has urged lawmakers to take action as it concerns the stimulus package, it is looking increasingly unlikely that Congress will be able to pass a bill before the end of the year. At this point, Congress has turned its focus towards a government spending negotiation that must be passed before Dec. 11. Still, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have spoken out on another stimulus package topic and voiced their frustrations over Congress's lack of action when it comes to the matter.
"I am kind of discouraged frankly right now. I was encouraged when I saw ... Vice President Biden tell Schumer and Pelosi he would like to see a package done. So far, there doesn't seem to be any interest on the Democratic side," Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, said. "Just as important as what the top line is what the content is, so that is why it is hard to say what the appropriate topline number is, but it does need to be focused and there is still a lot of people hurting and a lot of questions about logistics of the vaccine, which we are going to need continued support from Congress."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, also said, while getting visibly angry, per CNN, "The men and women throughout our country — they're suffering because of Covid and we're not doing a damn thing to help them. That's wrong."