Chris Hayes Explodes at Democratic Senator Over Stimulus Means Testing
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing that President Joe Biden is considering implementing means testing for the next round of $1,400 economic stimulus checks, which are part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
The proposal would qualify recipients based on their 2019 tax returns, even though they are completely irrelevant to what people are going through now.
On Tuesday evening, MSNBC host Chris Hayes followed up on that possibility in an interview with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).
“There’s been a lot of focus on direct cash relief, partly because it was a big part of the campaign down the stretch in Georgia that won the majority. I want to play you something that the press secretary Jen Psaki said today about considerations in negotiations that I think are happening within the Democratic party about paring back eligibility on those checks,” Hayes said. “Take a listen.”
Today, the president talked about better targeting the stimulus checks. I wonder if you could just explain what he meant by that and what might be under consideration.
Further targeting means not the size of the check. It means the income level of people who receive the check. and that’s something that has been under discussion. There hasn’t been a discussion, but he’s open to having that discussion.
That did not sit well with Hayes, who rightly pointed out that 2019 income has absolutely nothing to do with the coronavirus economy of today:
Here’s my pitch to you, Senator. Then I’ll shut up. Don’t do this, A. B, if you have to do it, and you need 50 votes, so whatever, just give people checks and tax it back next year, if they had a good year and didn’t need it. This idea that you’re going to means test all 2019 income, which does not capture the need, please don’t do this. Okay. You respond. I’ll shut up now.
Kaine, however, said that money that is sent to households who are not financially hurting could be repurposed for other essential programs:
Chris, so here’s what, I absolutely agree with the White House. We shouldn’t shrink the check amount, but I do think what the White House is talking about, the $1.9 trillion, that’s what we need to do.
We take the money we save and we put it into more vaccines, or more unemployment insurance, or more housing aid, or more SNAP benefits, we can meet the needs. so the issue about the $1400 check, it connects with a whole lot of other priorities in this bill that are about helping Americans. I think the targeting thing is not a bad discussion to get into. As long as we are going big and going prompt because Americans are still suffering.
But Hayes insisted that now is not the time to worry if a few well-to-do households receive extra cash, and he offered a solution to balance out the cost:
All I would say is the tax code next year is a great means, and it will score the same, by the way, for CBO purposes, it will score the same if you just tax it back next year. That’s my little piece here, Senator Tim Kaine, I’m not a Senator, but I can’t help but offer my opinion.
Watch below, courtesy of Crooks and Liars: