President Joe Biden acknowledged his final coronavirus stimulus bill will probably look different from his $1.9 trillion opening bid, in his first network interview since being inaugurated.
The new president told CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell that the prospect of including a $15 minimum wage in his final Covid-19 relief bill is dimming, and he’s also considering lowering the income threshold of who will get additional $1,400 stimulus checks.
“I’m prepared to negotiate on that,” Biden told O’Donnell, saying he believed stimulus checks should go to middle-class families, capping it at individuals who make $75,000 annually and couples making $150,000 per year. But Biden also said he’s open to negotiating on a different number. “I’m wide open on what that is,” the president said.
What Biden seemed less willing to negotiate on was the $1,400 amount for stimulus checks. Biden promised to deliver $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans as part of his closing argument in the January Georgia Senate runoffs (under Biden’s plan, the $1,400 combines with the $600 stimulus checks sent out in December).
As they negotiate with congressional Republicans and some moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill, Biden’s administration wants to stay true to the sum on the check. But they see room to work with in who may get those checks.
Appearing on CNN on Sunday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested a middle ground between Biden’s $75,000 cap and the $50,000 individual cap for stimulus checks being proposed by a group of 10 Congressional Republicans: capping stimulus checks at those making $60,000 per year.
“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, [Biden] thinks, and I would certainly agree, that it’s appropriate for people there to get support,” Yellen told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I think the details can be worked out.”