There’s new opposition to parts of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus stimulus package, and it isn’t coming from Republicans.
Two of Biden’s top White House economic advisers, Council of Economic Advisors member Heather Boushey and National Economic Council deputy director David Kamin, have expressed reservations to Biden about sending another round of direct stimulus checks to taxpayers, three people familiar with the conversations told Bloomberg News on Monday.
Boushey and Kamin are reportedly concerned that both the total amount of each check — which Biden’s American Rescue Plan currently starts at $1,400 for taxpayers making less than $75,000 per year — and the rate at which payments phase out entirely could preclude Congress from appropriating additional funds for stimulus items like expanded unemployment insurance and additional aid for states. (RELATED: Biden Signals He Would Sign Coronavirus Stimulus Package Into Law Even If Passed Without Republican Support)
Bloomberg’s report comes the same day that Biden is set to host a group of 10 Republican senators at the White House to discuss their new stimulus proposal, which, at $600 billion in total, is less than one-third the size of Biden’s current plan.
“As has been widely reported, the President received a letter [Sunday] from 10 Republican Senators asking to meet with him to discuss their ideas about the actions needed to address these crises,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the meeting. “In response, the President spoke to Senator Collins, and invited her and other signers of the letter to come to the White House early this week for a full exchange of views.”
“The American Rescue Plan – including $1400 relief checks, a substantial investment in fighting COVID and reopening schools, aid to small businesses and hurting families, and funds to keep first responders on the job (and more) – is badly needed,” she continued. “As leading economists have said, the danger now is not in doing too much: it is in doing too little.”
Biden’s plan has also received opposition from more progressive members of the Democratic party. Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and 50 other Democratic lawmakers urged the president last week to abandon another round of one-time payments in favor of recurring “survival checks” worth $2,000 until the pandemic is over.
$2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over. https://t.co/6tuia6prFJ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 28, 2021
“The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment,” she added in a letter to the White House. “Another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out, families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities. One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis.”