Thu, 15 Apr 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: Compromising with moderates, President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed to tighten the requirements for those eligible to receive the stimulus checks that are part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to be voted on by the U.S. Senate.

The White House and Democratic leaders also agreed with progressives and retained $400 weekly emergency unemployment benefits included in the House-passed pandemic legislation.

Critics of the payment note that such high payments will result in people not returning to work.

Moderates had sought to reduce those payments to $300 weekly.

Regarding movement on the aid package, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was ".pleased with the progress that is being made with the rescue plan. He's always said he's open to good ideas."

Overall, Republicans have been solidly opposed to the bill, calling it a give away. However, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has indicated she might vote for the bill, saying she has talked to White House officials about "how this helps a state like Alaska."

Democrats hope to send this bill for Biden's signature before the current emergency jobless benefits end on March 14.

The legislation calls for individuals earning up to $75,000, and couples up to $150,000, to receive $1,400 checks per person.

The handing out of relief checks would cost $422 billion, the largest item in the relief bill.

Republicans continued criticizing the measure, as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, "Democrats had a choice. They chose to go it alone, tack to the left, leave families' top priorities on the cutting room floor."

(File photo. Credit Louis Velazquez | Unsplash)

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