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Biden says $1,200 stimulus checks ‘may be still in play’ in Covid relief talks

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said that another ambit of coronavirus stimulus checks for U.S. families “may be still in play.”

“I think it would be better if they had the $1,200 [payments to kinsfolk],” Biden said when asked at a press conference to respond to criticism about a new Covid relief programme revealed this week as a starting point for the latest round of negotiations on Capitol Hill.

Biden added: “And I construe that may be still in play. 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 out their homes, are able to have unemployment insurance [that] they can continue to feed their families on as we blossom back the economy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., make backed a bipartisan $908 billion relief plan as a basis for talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

On Friday, Pelosi disclosed reporters “there is momentum” toward lawmakers striking a deal. 

Biden has endorsed the plan as a “good start,” but he has potential to push for more aid when his administration takes charge. At the press conference, Biden would not say if he has spoken to McConnell.

The tender does not include a second $1,200 direct payment to most Americans. Pelosi and Schumer have called for another stimulus report register for months as part of trillions in aid they hoped to approve.

When the Democratic leaders yielded ground and asked to start talks round the $908 billion measure, they noted that “we and others will offer improvements.”

Some congressional liberals have questioned how much relief a bill would help if it fails to include direct payments or a robust unemployment security supplement. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he would not support a bill unless it included a stimulus check or scrapped Republican insist ons for a liability shield, according to NBC News.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told NBC News she would be open to supporting the package. Quieten, she criticized a lack of direct payments.

The bipartisan plan includes funding for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program cheap business loans, relief for state and local governments that may have to cut essential services and money for schools. It also files money for transportation and vaccine distribution.

Skeptics including Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez worry it will not put enough money soon into Americans’ pockets. While it authorizes a $300 per week enhanced federal unemployment benefit, the sum is half of the $600 weekly payment that Congress back numb in March. The provision expired in July.

Biden has previously endorsed a significantly larger relief bill that out of date the House earlier this year. He noted at the press conference Friday that the $908 billion proposal “is by the skin of ones teeth a down payment.”

Still, Biden signaled a willingness to compromise, and said he’s confident that the stalemate in Congress order give way to a deal in time to “keep us from going off the edge here.”

“If you insist on everything, you’re likely to get nothing on both sides,” Biden about.

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