Stimulus: Rubio calls on Biden to increase direct payments to $2,000 'on the first day of your presidency'

Denitsa Tsekova

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged President-elect Joe Biden to do a “standalone legislation” to increase the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 immediately after he takes office.

“It would send a powerful message to the American people if, on the first day of your presidency, you called on the House and Senate to send you legislation to increase the direct economic impact payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic from $600 to $2,000,” he wrote in a letter to Biden that was first first reported by Axios.

Biden has repeatedly said he supports the $2,000 checks, but he also supports the increase to be included in a comprehensive package that included more money allocated for vaccine distribution, aid to small businesses, funding for schools, and state and local aid as opposed to standalone legislation.

“We're going to be proposing an entire package,” Biden said last week. “The price tag will be high.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (L) stands next to his wife Jeanette Rubio as he takes part in a ceremonial re-enactment of his swearing-in by Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 5, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (L) stands next to his wife Jeanette Rubio as he takes part in a ceremonial re-enactment of his swearing-in by Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 5, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

GOP opposition to $2,000 stimulus

Other GOP politicians have voiced opposition to $2,000 checks, arguing that it would entail direct too much aid to wealthy Americans. In late December, when it was GOP-controlled, Senate blocked a measure on the direct payments increase.

“All too often, popular and necessary legislation is used as leverage to secure passage for policies that cannot pass on their own merit,” Rubio wrote. “Please do not allow direct payments to the American people to get caught up in the normal political games by adding a wish list of far left or other unrelated priorities to this legislation.”

The $2,000 stimulus check legislation that passed the Democratic-controlled House in December would cost around $464 billion, according to The Joint Committee on Taxation, versus $166 billion estimated price tag for the $600 stimulus checks.

If passed, the legislation would increase not only increase the amount in payments but also expand eligibility for the dependent bonus to include dependents of any age. Currently, only parents and guardians of dependents under 17 receive the bonus.

It would also mean a big increase in income for America’s poorest families. The 20% of households with the lowest incomes would see their annual income increase by 29% if Congress passes the provision under the CASH Act, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found.

Despite its high price tag and therefore increasing the deficit, the provision was supported by President Trump, who held the latest $900 billion stimulus deal for three days over the increase in payment, being one of its vocal proponents.

Read more: Here's what to do if you haven't gotten your stimulus check

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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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