People with appointments will wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a walk-in public health vaccine in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 26th. Mario Tama / Getty Images
President Biden continues to pursue a bipartisan deal over his $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid proposal, but White House officials privately acknowledge that the bill needs to be scaled back to secure Republican support after the GOP legislators have violated the price.
It is not clear how willing the White House will be to bring the price down, and whether that will be enough to garner Republican support. And even if they acknowledge the reality, Biden government officials and Congress Democrats are increasingly skeptical that a bipartisan deal can be reached.
Several key Republican senators also raise questions about whether the White House is taking a bipartisan deal seriously.
Biden has repeatedly said that a bipartisan deal is his preference, but his aides have also stressed the urgent need for economic relief, and the new Democratic majority in the Senate is considering a rare procedural tactic known as reconciliation to move important pieces of legislation through the party to block lines.
Sources said the reality of the White House economic team and Congressional Democrats pushing for speed and size had materialized on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here is a look on some key points proposed in Biden’s rescue package:
Improved stimulus payments: The plan is to send an additional $ 1,400 per person to eligible recipients. That money would be used in addition to the $ 600 payments approved by Congress in December and sent out earlier this month – for a total of $ 2,000.
The new payments would go to adult dependents excluded from the previous rounds, such as some children over the age of 17. They would also include households with mixed immigration status, after the spouses of undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security numbers were left out in the first round of $ 1,200 checks.
Improved unemployment benefits: Biden would increase the federal boost for the unemployed to $ 400 a week, from the $ 300 weekly improvement included in Congressional aid package starting December. He would also extend payments through September along with two major pandemic unemployment programs. This applies to those under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program who have exhausted their regular government unemployment benefits and under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits to self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and certain pandemic affected people .
Legislators only gave an additional 11 weeks of support in the December package, which will last through March.
Rent assistance and eviction moratorium: The plan provides $ 25 billion in rental support for low and middle income households who lost their jobs during the pandemic. That is on top of the $ 25 billion that lawmakers made available in December.
Another $ 5 billion would be allocated to help tenants pay their utility bills. Biden is also calling for $ 5 billion to help states and communities help people at risk of homelessness.
The plan would extend the federal eviction moratorium, which expires in late January, to September 30th, and allow people with government-guaranteed mortgages to apply for forbearance until September 30th.