Stimulus Checks: Why $2000 Payments Aren't in the Cards

Democrats campaigned hard on the promise of another stimulus check, with many promising to deliver $2,000 when they took office. Over the last few days, however, the messaging has shifted to $1,400, with the recent $600 checking making it a $2,000 total. Pundits are now examining whether a full $2,000 could or should be sent out, and why the Democrats are not doing so.

Democrats took control of the United States Senate and the White House this month, after a hard-fought campaign and narrow margins the Georgia run-off elections. Much of the campaign revolved around their promise of economic relief, with the $2,000 stimulus check at its center. This weekend, everyone from voters to volunteers was furious to see the Democrats promoting a $1,400 stimulus check, counting the recent $600 as a "down payment" on the full amount. Many argue that with control of the legislative and executive branches, the Democrats should simply do what they promised.

At least some lawmakers believe it is possible, and they are not shy about saying so. According to a report by CBS News, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar led over 50 other representatives last week in sending a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to sign off on a monthly stimulus check of $2,000 until the coronavirus pandemic is over. Signers included Omar's allies New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

These are not vague suggestions, either. These lawmakers have worked out the logistics of payments of this size and propose legitimate ways to get them passed. While these ideas might be debatable, and the political ramifications might be a bigger consideration for Biden than for these representatives, the fact remains that a $2,000 is theoretically possible, leading many critics to question why Biden is going back on his word.

Biden appears to be lengthening the negotiation process in an attempt to get Republican approval, even though he does not need it. He could pass his stimulus proposal now through the budget reconciliation process, but last week his press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that a bipartisan bill is his "clear preference." That would mean even more negotiations with Republicans, potentially including more restrictions on eligibility for the check, according to a report by Fortune.

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With all this in mind, it may take until mid-February or late March to get a third stimulus check passed according to a report by Newsweek. Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and others argue that this is too long — especially for the goal of compromising with Republicans. In their letter, they wrote: "One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis. Many families cannot afford to wait for eight months between payments. To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief — they cannot be at the mercy of congressional gridlock."