Biden Tees Up Senate Battle With Massive COVID Spending Bill
Added 01-15-21 05:20:03pm EST - “President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday evening called for Congress to pour another $1.9 trillion into the economy, boosting spending on the COVID crisis by over 50 percent in a move that some economists argue wildly overshoots the…” - Freebeacon.com
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President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday evening called for Congress to pour another $1.9 trillion into the economy, boosting spending on the COVID crisis by just shy of 50 percent in a move that some economists argue wildly overshoots the economy's needs.
The plan includes billions of dollars for added public health response, but is in large part focused on massive transfers, including expanding relief payments that would flow even to some of the wealthiest taxpayers. It also includes some of Biden's longer-term fiscal policy priorities, including a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour—which could cost a recovering economy millions of jobs.
The Biden plan would bring total spending on the COVID crisis to roughly $6 trillion, the single biggest fiscal response in American history, and one that has produced record deficits. But that is only the beginning, as his team has promised further spending in the form of a second bill expected in time for Biden's first address to Congress in February.
The sheer scale of Biden's ask not only risks a major blow to the federal debt—it also may be too big of an ask for congressional Republicans, who initially shied away from a much smaller package passed in December. That means the proposal could prompt a contentious fight on top of an expected impeachment trial for outgoing president Donald Trump—a rocky beginning to Biden's term.
The plan floated Thursday would go big on every front possible. The biggest ticket item is the expansion of the $600 recovery rebate checks from December's bill to $2,000 per person, at an estimated cost of $465 billion. The expanded relief checks were likely a key political promise that helped Democrats win the Senate earlier this month, but they have attracted criticism for likely disbursing relief to high-earning households that do not need the aid.
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