Top Democrat Senators Ask Joe Biden for Recurring Stimulus Checks in $2.25 Trillion Transportation Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 04: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) walks to a closed briefing on intelligence matters on Capitol Hill on December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Top Democrat senators asked President Joe Biden Tuesday to include direct payment stimulus checks in the forthcoming $2.25 trillion transportation legislation that the president will announce Wednesday.

Finance Committee Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter, cosigned by 21 Democrat senators, urging President Joe Biden to “include recurring direct payments and enhanced jobless benefits as part of his recovery plan,” due to “a coronavirus-fueled economic drubbing,” according to a report.

The highest-profile cosigners of the letter include Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” the Democrats wrote. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

While the $300 per week unemployment supplement ends September 6, a large amount of the $1,400 direct payments as part of their coronavirus relief package have already been distributed.

There is some speculation over what the contents of Biden’s transportation proposal will be, which may include items ranging from global warming initiatives to labor union measures, and other “good stuff” that “makes people healthier and creates good jobs,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

But of the $2.25 trillion in the bill, only $650 billion will be spent on roads and bridges.

Whatever the contents, the legislation may be pushed through Congress via reconciliation, a process that circumvents the Democrats’ vote shortfall to pass a Senate measure. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has asked the Senate parliamentarian if he can use reconciliation to avoid Senate gridlock, a tactic previously considered on a “hot mic” by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).

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