Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks at Biden’s transition headquarters in Wilmington, Del., December 1, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday called for Americans earning up to $60,000 to receive stimulus checks as part of the Biden administration’s massive coronavirus relief package.
“If you think about an elementary school teacher or a policeman making $60,000 a year and faced with children who are out of school and people who may have had to withdraw from the labor force in order to take care of them and many extra burdens, [President Biden] thinks, and I would certainly agree, that it’s appropriate for people there to get support,” Yellen said on CNN.
“The exact details of how it should be targeted are to be determined, but struggling middle class families need help,” she added.
The administration has signaled that it is willing to potentially compromise on lowering the income threshold for Americans to be eligible to receive the one-time $1,400 stimulus checks included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, but President Biden has refused to budge on the size of the checks.
“President Biden is certainly willing to work with members of Congress to define what’s fair and he wouldn’t want to see a household making over $300,000 receive these payments,” Yellen said Sunday.
Some Republicans and moderate Democrats including Senator Joe Manchin have proposed sending checks to individuals earning up to $50,000 and couples earning up to $100,000 instead of $75,000 and $150,000, respectively, the thresholds for the last round of direct payments.
Last week, Senate Democrats used budget reconciliation, a process requiring only a simple majority in the Senate, to pass the relief bill because not enough Republicans were willing to get on board. Republicans previously used budget reconciliation to pass the Trump administration’s major tax reform bill.
Biden and Senate Democrats have indicated their intention to push the package through without GOP support after a group of ten Republican senators proposed a stimulus package costing only about $600 billion.
“I’m going to act, and I’m going to act fast,” Biden said last week. “I’d like to be doing it with the support of Republicans. I’ve met with Republicans — there’s some really fine people want to get something done. But they’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go.”
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