In the newly installed Biden administration, the coronavirus pandemic is the thing that overshadows everything else. Biden’s domestic agenda, his eventual re-election, an economic recovery, and much more depend on the new administration and its associated agencies like the CDC finally bringing the COVID-19 coronavirus to heel, which will call for everything from universal adherence to wearing face masks (which Biden is personally championing and has signed an executive order supporting) to a COVID vaccine distribution scheme that actually gets the job done.
Meantime, the millions of Americans wanting a new stimulus check update won’t have to wait much longer, now that Biden is president after assuring voters that the pandemic would mean one of his first orders of business in the White House would be to pass a legislative economic rescue package. He’s already proposed that plan, which has a $1.9 trillion price tag and which includes funding for a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks. So, when could you get yours?
Goldman Sachs’ chief US political economist, Alec Philipps, has said he thinks these new $1,400 stimulus checks could start hitting the first recipients’ bank accounts in late February. It’s a prediction with an aggressive time frame, to be sure, but here’s why he’s come to that conclusion:
It relies on Congress needing to pass Biden’s massive spending bill sometime by mid-February. That’s certainly doable, especially since no one needs to be convinced of how awful the coronavirus pandemic remains at the moment. But Biden’s economic rescue package will certainly give deficit hawks in Congress pause if it hasn’t already, and speaking of Congress — the Democratic control of the Senate is razor-thin anyway, with the party’s majority control only made possible by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ vote to break ties.
The other thing that might threaten to gum up the works, from a timetable perspective, is the anticipated impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate. However, as of the time of this writing the House still has not delivered the impeachment article it voted on to the Senate, so there’s always a chance some early Biden wins could be rushed through before that happens. Bottom line, weekly unemployment claims are hovering around 1 million right now — a terrible number, and hopefully enough of a catalyst for Congress to want to hurry up and make good on what the signs right now suggest is a February date for the first payments in the third wave of stimulus checks to start going out.