Nancy Pelosi: ‘We wanted more but $600 checks are significant’

The Speaker of the House says that while she advocated for more, the stimulus checks will help people

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says that although the $600 stimulus check wasn’t the amount of money she and her Democratic colleagues advocated for, that it’s still a ‘significant’ amount.

Read More: Joelle Gamble to join Biden administration as economic special assistant

Today on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said that “I’d like them to have been bigger, but they are significant, and they will be going out soon.”

Pelosi took time also to address the delay between the time when benefits from the first CARES Act expired at the end of July to now. After months of negotiation between Democrats and Republicans, who had different priorities, they finally passed the bill.

“What took so long is because we could not get our Republican colleagues to crush the virus… they didn’t believe in the science, we knew that. But they did believe in herd immunity and that’s why we never could come to that first bill pillar: crush the virus.”

She indicated the Democrats hoped to expand on some of the provisions in the compromise bill. They are likely looking for help from the Biden administration when they take office on Jan. 20, hopefully with a Senate majority after the runoff election in Georgia on Jan. 5. That election will determine the balance of power in the Senate.

‘It’s a first step. We need to do more,’ Pelosi said.

As per The Hill, the $900M new stimulus bill, which is expected to be passed officially and signed by President Trump today includes the $600 direct payment with checks going to each eligible adult in the household and each child. In a welcome move, unemployment benefits set to expire by the end of the year have been extended.

Unemployment benefits continue for gig workers, and a $300 additional federal benefit has been added, though it’s half of what was added to the first bill. (An additional $100 benefit will be available for those who lost income from multiple jobs.)

Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

Among other significant provisions, $284B will be available for the PPP or Paycheck Protection Program, allowing businesses that received it the first time to apply again and expand benefits for community and minority small businesses.

The deal provides $9B for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions or banks and credit unions with predominantly minority depositors. Another $20B will be earmarked for small businesses via the Economic Injury Disaster Loans grants.

People who have fallen behind in rent payments and are threatened by eviction had reasons to celebrate as the bill also extends eviction moratoriums through the end of January. It also provides tenants with $25B in rental assistance for help with rent and utility payments by applying through their state.

In another important benefit for low-income families, those already receiving SNAP benefits, commonly known as EBT cards, or ‘food stamps’ will see a 15% increase in benefits.

Read More: Officials report rampant fraud in Paycheck Protection Program

“We put our heads down and worked around the clock for nearly a month to produce a bipartisan, bicameral bill to address the emergency needs of our country,” a statement released by a group of bipartisan members of Congress said. “Our consensus bill was the foundation of this final package.”

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