U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, he agreed with a proposal by Democratic legislators. The proposal would limit or phase out stimulus payments to higher-income individuals as part of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
Biden said, “Yes” when asked at the beginning of a meeting with business leaders whether he supported the proposal. That would send $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans earning up to $75,000 as well as households making up to $150,000.
He said he had been in touch with Republican leaders about the package. He thinks they’re in a position to think big, he said.
Biden would be discussing infrastructure and the minimum wage, he said. This will be with the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Gap Inc, and Lowe’s Companies.
He was concerned to get reaction from the business leaders to his administration’s approach. Moreover, to see if they can find some common ground, he added.
The stimulus package is key to kickstarting the new U.S. President’s agenda with focus on two of his top goals. These are fighting the pandemic and boosting the economy.
The plan rolled out by congressional Democrats mirrored much of his own proposal. It was ignoring calls from Republicans to lower the income threshold for payments.
The most recent Democratic proposal would phase out those payments at lower income thresholds than previous stimulus efforts. It will completely cut off individuals earning more than $100,000 and couples earning more than $200,000.
President Biden has stood firm on the size of the checks. He remained open, however, to discussion on tweaking the income requirements.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen joined Biden and the executives in the Oval Office. JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, Gap’s Sonia Syngal and Lowe’s Companies’ Marvin Ellison attended. Tom Donohue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was also present.
In a statement after the meeting, Dimon said that the group discussed “the urgent struggles of so many Americans”. They’ve discussed “a path to a sustainable and equitable economic recovery, and the future of American competitiveness.”
Jen Psaki, White House spokeswoman, said she expected the meeting to be the first of many with the business community.
The President is eager to keep attention on his relief package. That’s despite the U.S. Senate on Tuesday starting the second impeachment trial of his predecessor Donald Trump. Trump was accused of inciting a riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.