The Biden administration is facing a challenge from a bipartisan group of senators pushing back against the administration’s intent to distribute thousands of dollars in stimulus checks to every American, including high-income Americans.
Biden previously announced a $1.9 trillion relief package that would include distributing stimulus checks to all Americans, including those whose incomes have not been affected by coronavirus lockdowns and layoffs.
Senators stated their concerns over direct payments being issued to Americans regardless of income level on a call with the Biden administration. “The 75-minute call, set up by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), is one of the first big calls the Biden administration has held as it works to build cross-party support for the $1.9 trillion plan. Senators asked for more data on how the White House filled out its plan,” Politico reported.
“The senators told the White House officials they support spending more on vaccine distribution but some balked at the stimulus payments, urging the White House to make them targeted toward those in greater need, according to sources on the call. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) pressed the Biden officials on why families making $300,000 would be eligible and urged a focus on lower-income workers.”
“I was the first to raise that issue, but there seemed to be a lot of agreement … that those payments need to be more targeted,” Collins told Politico. Collins stated it was unclear to the senators how the Biden administration arrived at the $1.9 trillion figure.
Independent Sen. Angus King mocked the Biden plan, stating, “this isn’t monopoly money.”
The Biden administration’s meeting with the senators follows the president’s statement that urgent action was needed to help struggling Americans because “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.”
According to the Daily Wire, objecting to stimulus payments for high-income Americans is the same argument that former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made when he rejected Trump’s proposal to issue $2,000 stimulus checks late last year, which was first proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“But above and beyond that discussion, the Democratic leaders have broken from what President Trump proposed. They quietly changed his proposal in an attempt to let wealthy households suck up even more money,” McConnell said.
“Speaker Pelosi structured her bill so that a family of four would have to earn more than $300,000 in order not to qualify for more cash. A family of three could pull in $250,000 per year — a quarter of a million dollars — and still qualify for some money. And Democratic leaders want to call this scheme, quote, ‘survival checks.’ Only my friends Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader could look at households in New York and California who make $300,000… in households where nobody has been laid off… where earnings did not even drop this past year… and conclude these rich constituents of theirs need ‘survival checks’ financed by taxpayer dollars and borrowed money,” said McConnell.
Axios reports that the bipartisan group of centrist senators, dubbed the “Sweet 16,” also discussed vaccine distribution and the status of the pandemic.