As Americans Still Await Promised Stimulus Checks, Biden Reportedly Offers $4 Billion To Central America
President Joe Biden is reportedly offering $4 billion to countries in Central America to support “development” efforts there as millions of Americans are still waiting on coronavirus relief from the government — including a promised new round of stimulus checks.
Various reports said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made the announcement saying that the new Democratic president told him of his plan to send $4 billion to aid development in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Biden and López Obrador spoke on the phone Friday to discuss immigration, among others. The White House noted that the new US President also cited the need to plug the “root cause” of the tides of migration toward the United States through Mexico.
The Mexiccan government has earlier worked with former President Donald Trump to stop multiple attempts of migrant caravans from Central America to cross Mexico in an attempt to enter the US.
Reversing “draconian” immigration policies
López Obrador said the talk with Biden was “friendly and respectful.” Meanwhile, the White House said the new Democratic president also discussed “reversing the previous administration’s draconian immigration policies.”
“The President outlined his plan to reduce migration by addressing its root causes, increasing resettlement capacity and lawful alternative immigration pathways, improving processing at the border to adjudicate requests for asylum, and reversing the previous administration’s draconian immigration policies,” the White House said in a statement — without mentioning the $4 billion aid offer of Biden.
Biden’s offer of financial aid to Central America was met with skepticism as millions of millions of Americans have not yet received their $600 stimulus checks that were approved as part of the Trump administration’s $900 billion relief package passed in December.
Democrats’ campaign promise to pass a new round of stimulus package also hangs with no clear timeline in sight — although Biden is pushing for a third COVID-19 relief package that would include direct check payments to qualified American individuals.
Under Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, however, some lawmakers have raised concerns that the aid package would provide “too much” money to already-high income earners.
Biden’s plan also includes a $20 billion allocation to accelerate vaccine distribution, a $15-an-hour minimum wage increase — which businesses warn could cost millions of jobs — an extension of unemployment benefits through September 2021, a $350 billion funding for state and local governments as well as a one-time $1,400 direct stimulus check, already a redacted amount from the $2,000 earlier promised by Democrats.
GOP calls on Biden to prioritize Americans first
Earlier, some Republican lawmakers already slammed Biden’s plan to prioritize a “path to citizenship” for millions of illegal immigrants in the country as more than 10 million Americans remain unemployed due to the wide-ranging impact of the coronavirus.
House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said Democrats should focus on helping Americans first.
“The coronavirus and government-imposed lockdowns have left millions of Americans unemployed and small businesses shut down. Our immediate national priority must be to help Americans get back to work. Instead, the first legislative priority we get from the new administration is … a radical immigration bill granting citizenship to millions of illegal aliens,” Rep. McCarthy said.
“Not only does it undermine our rule of law and encourage more illegal immigration, it tells our fellow Americans their misfortune isn’t our nation’s top priority. Will this proposal help Americans get back to work? Most certainly not. And until that happens, the Biden Administration must focus on helping our own citizens first,” he added.
Meanwhile, aside from López Obrador, Biden also phoned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss Biden’s controversial move to halt construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Biden and Trudeau also reportedly spoke about trade, defense and climate issues.
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