Stimulus bill: No $1,200 checks in latest bill, but Biden says they ‘may still be in play’

A bipartisan group of legislators plans to announce Monday a more detailed outline of a COVID-19 relief bill they hope to pass before Congress recesses for the holiday season.

>> Read more trending news

The bill, a $908 billion proposal, is expected to include funds for federal unemployment insurance, aid to small businesses and help for renters among other aid packages.

Both House and Senate leaders have signaled they are receptive to passing some form of economic relief legislation aimed at helping the millions who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared in March.

The bipartisan group released an outline of the proposed bill that called for billions for state and local governments, money for the Paycheck Protection Program and funds to help with COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment.

Here is how the proposed bill breaks down:

  • $106 billion: State, local and tribal governments
  • $180 billion: Unemployment Insurance
  • $288 billion: Paycheck Protection Program
  • $12 billion: CDFI/MDI Community Lender Support
  • $45 billion: Transportation
  • $16 billion: Vaccine development and distribution
  • $35 billion: Health care provider relief
  • $82 billion: Education
  • $4 billion: Student loans
  • $25 billion: Rental housing assistance
  • $26 billion: Nutrition/Agriculture
  • $10 billion: U.S. Postal Service
  • $10 billion: Child care
  • $10 billion: Broadband
  • $5 billion: Opioid treatment

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, told “Fox News Sunday” that the relief bill will extend a moratorium on evictions for people who can’t pay their rent, but it will not include the $1,200 direct payment checks many had hoped to see as the year ends.

“It (the $1,200 stimulus checks) may be a go, but it’s not in this bill,” Cassidy told “Fox News Sunday,”

“This is not a stimulus bill, it’s a relief bill,” he said. “...There may be a stimulus check, but that would be part of a different piece of legislation.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, told The Associated Press over the weekend that Republicans would not agree to a bill that included the extra $300 billion it would cost to send $1,200 checks to millions of Americans.

“The $1,200 check, it cost, we believe, nationally $300 billion to give you an idea,” he said. “The Democrats have always wanted a larger number, but we were told we couldn’t get anything through the Republicans, except this $900 billion level.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, have both backed a bill that cost more than $2 trillion, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has put forth a bill that costs around $550 billion.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, said last week that he wouldn’t support the $908 billion proposal if the $1,200 checks were not part of the deal.

Sanders called for including the $1,200 stimulus checks in the bill and for leaving out money for liability shields.

“This proposal provides 100% legal immunity to corporations whose irresponsibility has led to the deaths of hundreds of workers,” Sanders said of the liability coverage.

“It would continue to provide a get-out-of-jail free card to companies that put the lives of their workers and customers at risk,” Sanders said in a statement.

Cassidy told CNBC that a Republican initiative to fund business liability coverage and the Democrats’ desire to give money to struggling cities and states would likely be the biggest sticking points to the passage of the bill.

On Friday, President-elect Joe Biden signaled that that $1,200 direct payment “may still be in play” as part of a new relief package.

“I think it would be better if they had the $1,200 [payments to families],” Biden said at a press conference.

“And I understand that may be still in play,” he added. “But, I’m not going to comment on the specific details. The whole purpose of this is, we’ve got to make sure people aren’t thrown out of their apartments, lose their homes are able to have unemployment insurance [that] they can continue to feed their families on as we grow back the economy.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, told CNN that those looking for a stimulus check will likely have to wait for Jan. 20 when Biden takes office.

“Those who want the direct stimulus checks, that will be something President-elect Biden will grapple with,” Warner said.