I want to take a break from Trump and all that today — though I do want to say that yesterday on Fox News, Republican Senator Pat Toomey did say the President committed impeachable offenses, so there’s another Republican turning on Trump — but in this brief Sunday morning video, I just want to talk about some things I think Biden could push for in the next stimulus package.
We know that Biden has said he wants the next package to be in the “trillions” of dollars, he’s said the price tag will be high and that he wants to lay out his proposals this coming Thursday, six days before his inauguration. Whether Biden actually gets trillions of dollars in more stimulus is an entirely different question, even with control of the Senate, you still need at least ten Republicans on board even assuming all Democrats and Independents are on board, and as we said last week, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is a wildcard, last week he said absolutely not to more stimulus checks and then kind of backpeddled and said, well, OK, if they’re targeted to the people who need them the most.
So my thinking here is that Joe Biden and the Democrats here ask for a lot and see what they can get especially now that Republicans are far less powerful now than they were the last time around. So obviously we know that Biden wants two-thousand-dollar stimulus checks, he’s said that six hundred is not enough, we wants to boost that. What else is he going to push for or what else might he push for?
Well, the December jobs report wasn’t all that great, job growth was negative for the first time since April. And we know that Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who once Democrats formally take control of the Senate, will become the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Wyden said that he wants to restore the six hundred dollars per week unemployment boost and that he is in communication with Biden about this.
Wyden did not say whether Biden officials will back his push for the six hundred a week, which probably wouldn’t get enough Republiacn support, but I think we can be fairly confident that Biden will push for an extension of and increase to the current three hundred dollar weekly benefit.
Wyden said, “I talked to [Biden officials] last night. I can tell you they are very much concerned about layoffs. At this point, I’m telling everybody: ‘I’m pulling out all the stops for $600.’ … We are going to do everything we can to put hard-hit working families on an economic footing where they can get ahead.” Alright, so stimulus checks and unemployment, what else? Well, we know that a couple days ago Biden said that he will ask Congress to immediately cancel ten thousand dollars in student debt for all borrowers and to extend the payment pause that ends at the end of this month.
Now, sidenote, this may actually tend to rile up some of the more progressive members of the Democratic party. Why? Because Elizabeth Warren strongly believes that the president through executive action can do this, theory basically being, hey, this isn’t spending, this is forgiveness, these are loans to the Department of Education, the president should have the unilateral ability to forgive loans to the Department of Education.
Even Chuck Schumer last month said that Biden on his first day in office should forgive fifty thousand dollars per borrower, he said, “All you need is the flick of a pen,” and, “You don’t need Congress.” Problem of course is that such a move would likely be incredibly unpopular with Republicans and would probably be counted against the math for any actual stimulus legislation, not to mention the fact that such a unilateral move by Joe BIden would likely be challenged in court.
Obviously Biden will also be pushing for vaccine distribution, he said he wants to get one hundred million shots in people’s arms in the first hundred days, personally, I think vaccine distribution money should be separate from a huge stimulus bill, because as we all know, Biden pushing a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package is going to get pushback from Republicans, but vaccine delivery, that needs to be a priority, feel free to disagree, and I’m not saying that stimulus checks and unemployment are not important obviously, but the faster vaccines go out, the more lives will be saved, I don’t think that vaccine distribution legislation should be combined with all these other things including my next point state and local funding.
Obviously Pelosi will renew her call for more aid to state and local governments now that Democrats have the White House, the Senate, and the House. Biden has expressed concern about state and local government “slashing jobs,” and they have, they truly have.
Over one million state and local government workers have lost their jobs, so you’d better believe Biden and Pelosi and Schumer are pushing for big state and local funding here. Biden’s also going to push for more money for schools, so that in-person learning is as safe as possible, and he also mentioned raising the federal minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour, although I think that last point there, I think that will be a separate fight than the next stimulus package.