President Joe Biden was quick to come up with the third round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400. With the pandemic still not over, many Americans are expecting Biden to approve another round of stimulus checks. The White House, however, may have put those expectations to rest by saying it is up to Congress to decide on more coronavirus stimulus checks.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: White House not interested?
In a briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, suggested that direct payments are costly, and thus, it is up to Congress to make a decision on sending more direct payments.
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"We'll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free," Psaki said at a press conference.
Instead of the fourth coronavirus stimulus checks, Psaki talked about the expanded child tax credit, which offers up to $3,600 for kids below 6, and up to $3,000 for kids between 6 and 17. Moreover, Biden’s latest proposal extends the child tax credit through 2025.
“If passed, the families of tens of millions of children will continue to get regular payments," Psaki said.
Presently, the White House looks more focused on gaining support for this new child tax credit, which is part of the $1.8 trillion child care and education package, called the American Families Plan, and the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion infrastructure bill.
The White House may not be focusing much on another stimulus bill, but Biden recently recognized the importance of stimulus checks. Biden, in his speech last Wednesday night, noted that the stimulus checks are meeting their objective of helping people affected by the pandemic.
“It’s making a difference," the president told Congress. "For many people, it’s making all the difference in the world."
However, like Psaki, Biden also talked about the new child tax credit, saying it would “help more than 65 million children and help cut child care poverty in half.”
Will Congress approve more stimulus checks?
Even though the demand for another stimulus check is growing, Congress is unlikely to approve it. There are two reasons for that – the U.S. economy is showing signs of improvement and the rising national debt. In March, U.S. household income increased by 21%.
Last year, Congress issued two rounds of stimulus checks, of up to $1,200 and $600. The stimulus package approved in March offered $1400 in stimulus payment to individuals with income of less than $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples). The check amount diminished for those earning over $75,000, while those making more than $80,000 were not eligible for the payment.
Overall, the third stimulus checks carried a price tag of $422 billion, or about one-fifth of the total package. Biden aims to raise funds for his two new packages (American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan) by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as well as increasing tax on the wealthy.