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White House

Democrats Seem Extremely Determined to Botch the Stimulus Checks

It's like they want to lose.

Joe Biden's position on stimulus checks.
PBS Newshour

The country is eagerly awaiting the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief bill that is currently working its way through Congress, so that people can begin getting their coveted stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits and all of the other stuff that is in the bill. Naturally, however, there is some confusion about such a big and complicated piece of legislation. Luckily for us, the Democrats are here to clear things up!

First, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answered some straightforward questions during Monday’s press briefing about whether the push to further restrict who gets the latest round of stimulus checks is, y’know, not a great idea.

The current fight, if you need reminding, is between some Democrats who want to restrict any individual who makes $50,000 from getting a full stimulus check and other Democrats who want to maintain the $75,000 threshold from earlier bills. There is no evidence that anyone in America cares about “targeting,” and plenty of evidence that they definitely care about getting the damn check in the mail ASAP, but here we are.

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen threw a new number into the ring, saying she thought cutting the full stimulus threshold off at $60,000 didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Paski was asked what she thought about this and offered a new preview into Joe Biden’s thinking, saying:

“Whatever the threshold is there will be a scale up. So his view is that a nurse, a teacher, a firefighter who’s making $60,000 shouldn’t be left without any support or relief either. It’s just a question of where the scale up looks like—what it looks like in the final package.”

Note the emphasis on “any” relief rather than “the full amount of relief that months of political rhetoric has primed people to expect.” So now, as long as this hypothetical nurse gets a little money from the stimulus, even if it is not nearly what they were promised, the system has worked. Cool! I’m sure they’ll understand.

Then there was this answer to a separate question:

“The voters who flipped the Senate for the Democrats were explicitly promised this aid by the president, wouldn’t it be politically bad to then tell some of them that they won’t be getting it anymore” is a great question and, really, should be the end of this increasingly stupid back and forth.

The White House response being, roughly, “uhhhh, well, it’s a process, something something targeting, we’re happy to see what happens, everyone share their feelings” is…less great.

I don’t want to harp on Psaki though, because Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden—chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee—had this to say about the stimulus bill:

LOL, so Wyden is saying here that, because eligibility for stimulus checks will be based on 2019 tax data unless the government gets updated numbers before the checks go out, it’s incumbent on us, the American public, to file our taxes right now. God, we are stupid idiots, thinking it was the government’s responsibility to figure out how to avoid this situation! It’s our responsibility to get those taxes in lickety-split! Has the government spent any real amount of time hammering this point home? Nope. Oh well, I’m sure everyone will get the message and not completely screw themselves out of potential income. Thanks Ron!

I have a great way to avoid all of the weird complexities Democrats are finding themselves in: everyone gets money! Just send us the checks, it’s all good! Instead, it’s like they want to lose.