Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Plan Includes $2,000 Stimulus Checks

A $2,000 stimulus check is part of the next stimulus plan to be unveiled Thursday evening by President-elect Joe Biden.

According to a fact sheet provided by the incoming administration that was obtained by multiple media outlets, the nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief measure intends to add up to $1,400 to the checks that began rolling out to eligible Americans starting early this month. That would amount to a total of $2,000 in direct payments for individuals.

The proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, also calls for increasing weekly unemployment benefits to $400 and extending it through the end of September. Biden is set to formally introduce the bill in a speech at 7:15 p.m. ET from Wilmington, Del.

The announcement came less than three weeks after congressional lawmakers and President Donald Trump signed into law a $900 billion measure that includes $600 in one-time direct payments to individuals as well as an additional $300 a week for the unemployed through March 14. The $600 payments were only half of the $1,200 sent out as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act enacted in late March as the COVID-19 health crisis took hold across the country.

Biden’s proposal also seeks to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, as well as extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium until the end of September. What’s more, it sets aside $350 billion in state and local government aid; offers $170 billion for K-12 schools and higher education institutions; puts $50 billion toward COVID-19 testing; and provides $20 billion toward a national vaccination program in partnership with states and localities.

With Democrats holding onto the House of Representatives and soon to take control of the Senate, Biden will likely have the votes needed to approve the bill.

The aid comes at a critical time for the U.S. economy: Today, the Department of Labor reported that seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ended Jan. 9 totaled 965,000 — an increase of 181,000 from the prior week’s downwardly revised 784,000 applications. The figure was worse than economists’ predictions of 800,000 claims and marked the highest total since August.

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