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The bipartisan $908 billion COVID-19 stimulus plan doesn't include new $1,200 checks for Americans, and senators say the checks can only be agreed after Biden takes office

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/7/2020 insider@insider.com (Kate Duffy)
Joe Manchin et al. standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia speaks alongside bipartisan members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a COVID-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images © Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia speaks alongside bipartisan members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a COVID-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
  • Senators said over the weekend that another round of stimulus checks would only be handed out once President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January and negotiates more relief.
  • The $908 billion package proposed on December 2, which is gaining bipartisan support, does not include $1,200 stimulus checks.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, said Biden's team "can put together a different proposal that takes us further down the road for more recovery" once they enter the White House.
  • Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy said the latest funding package "is not a stimulus bill, it's a relief bill," adding that "there may be a stimulus check, but that would be part of a different piece of legislation."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A second round of stimulus checks will only be handed out once President-elect Joe Biden takes office next year and negotiates extra relief, senators have said.

Congressional Democratic leaders backed a $908 billion stimulus proposal on December 2, but the package doesn't include more $1,200 direct cash payments. 

Stimulus checks were sent to more than 160 million Americans between March and June this year to help them through the coronavirus crisis.

Excluding the checks from the package was the only way to reach an agreement with Republicans, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told ABC News Sunday.

He said the direct payments would cost billions more dollars.

"The $1,200 check, it cost we believe nationally $300 billion, to give you an idea," Durbin 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."

Biden said Friday that "it would be better" if the stimulus package included direct payments for Americans.

Following Biden's comments, senators have said that stimulus checks may be available once Biden becomes President on January 20 and introduces more financial relief for Americans.

On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said on NBC's "Meet the Press" the proposed stimulus deal will be a lifeline for people and businesses that need urgent aid until Biden takes over.

Manchin said Biden's team "can put together a different proposal that takes us further down the road for more recovery" when the President-elect comes to power in January.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner echoed Manchin's comment, saying on CNN's "State of the Union" that "those who want the direct stimulus checks, that will be something that a president-elect Biden will grapple with."

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy told Fox News Sunday the upcoming stimulus bill should not include $1,200 direct payments to Americans.

Read more: Democrats just passed a $2.2 trillion package after rejecting a White House counteroffer. Here's what's in the bill, including a $600 boost to unemployment payments and an airline bailout.

"This is not a stimulus bill, it's a relief bill," Cassidy said, adding that "there may be a stimulus check, but that would be part of a different piece of legislation."

In November, more than 125 economists signed an open letter urging Congress to send a second round of stimulus checks to Americans. The checks were an "essential tool" for keeping millions of families out of poverty during the pandemic, they said.

Signatories included Jason Furman, President Barack Obama's top economic advisor, Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, and Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman.

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