WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — White House Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein says President Biden’s stimulus plan will cut U.S. child poverty in half in 2021 based on analysis by outside organizations.
“The checks, and the unemployment, and the child tax credit enhancement, a set of policies targeted at those at the bottom of the income scale. They get out to people who really need the help,” said Bernstein.
He also cited a new study from the Tax Policy Center stating the stimulus plan will increase the after-tax income for lower income families with children by 35%.
To address financial shortfalls caused by the pandemic, Biden is asking Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue plan that would provide direct payments to millions of Americans and surge funds into state and local governments.
The measure has already passed the House once but heads back for a final vote Wednesday on the Senate’s version of the plan. Biden is having to make compromises to keep all Democratic senators in support of the measure, including agreeing to narrowing eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks.
In a concession to moderate Democratic senators, Biden agreed that individuals making more than $80,000 annually and couples making more than $160,000 won’t receive any stimulus checks. Biden’s original proposal extended the stimulus funds to Americans with higher annual wages.
NewsNation spoke with Bernstein about the stimulus plan’s intended impact on the economy especially families on the lower end of the financial scale.
“As soon as the American Rescue Plan is passed by the Congress, our priority is to get relief out to the American people as quickly, as accurately, as efficiently, as possible,” said Bernstein.
Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of President Biden’s approach to the economy thus far, and 63% say the U.S. economy is in poor shape, an AP-NORC survey shows.
Republicans are also less likely to back Biden on the economy than they are on the pandemic, with just 17% supporting his fiscal stewardship.
When asked what he would say to people that say the stimulus costs too much, Bernstein said a wait-and-see approach won’t work.
“Because wait and see has been the enemy of the president’s goals when it comes to putting this crisis behind us once and for all. Wait and see is what causes these economic air pockets and healthcare air pockets that allow the virus to regain control and have another one of those upsurges that we have seen continuously throughout the crisis,” said Bernstein.
The administration estimates that 158.5 million households will still receive checks under the Senate compromise.