Stimulus check update: Biden unveils plan for $1,400 payments; unemployment extension

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a COVID-19 relief package he hopes to get through Congress that will include a stimulus check, an extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits and aid to small businesses, according to Reuters.

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The package, aimed at stimulating the economy as the pandemic nears the one-year mark, will also focus on quickly expanding the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination program and virus testing capacity.

Brian Deese, Biden’s pick to lead the National Economic Council, said Wednesday at a conference that the package will include $1,400 stimulus checks and an extension of federal unemployment benefits that are set to expire in March.

“At this moment the president-elect feels that we need to move aggressively on both rescue and recovery,” Deese said.

The $1,400 payment would be added to the $600 most Americans got this month, bringing the total of the last two checks to $2,000.

The plan includes more spending on vaccine distribution and money to schools to help them open fully by fall.

“We need to get the schools open,” Deese said, “so that parents, and particularly women who are being disproportionately hurt in this economy, can get back to work.”

The plan may also include the expansion of an existing tax credit for children in lower-income families.

The spending plan will likely be covered in two bills, The New York Times reported, with the second bill focusing on money for job creation, infrastructure, clean energy projects and additional health care and education spending.

Biden has said the plans will cost “trillions of dollars.” The first part of the plan is expected to cost $1.5 trillion.

On Christmas Eve, House Republicans blocked an effort by House Democrats to approve a $2,000 stimulus payment for millions of Americans.

Biden will announce the details of his plan in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday evening.

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