House Democrats will move forward with the COVID-19 relief package that would keep the current income limits for Americans who receive stimulus checks while tightening eligibility for higher-earning Americans – a huge win for Democrats.
On Monday night, the plan was unveiled that would keep $1,400 stimulus checks coming to Americans who are making up to $75,000 a year, rather than the previous threshold of $50,000 a year.
However, the House Democrats are planning to tighten the eligibility for individuals who are making above $75,000, a higher-earning group who previously qualifies for smaller checks. Couples who are making $150,000 a year would also qualify for direct payments.
House Democrats are moving forward with a plan that would keep stimulus checks flowing to Americans making up to 75K a year, instead of 50K. It would, however, tighten eligibility for those making over 75K as an individual @heatherscope @sarahnferris https://t.co/2pCp1lsEL9
— Marianne LeVine (@marianne_levine) February 8, 2021
However, the payment amounts beyond those thresholds would phase out faster than the stimulus checks distributed from the first two rounds. In addition to this, individuals with income above $100,000 and married couples who have income over $200,000 would no longer be eligible for the stimulus payments.
The details surrounding the stimulus checks will be one of the tests of unity among Democratic leaders as they place themselves under immense pressure to create a stimulus package that can gain support from almost all of its members.
There are already several policies that emerged as a potential cause of friction among Democrats. Including them is the new $15 per hour federal minimum wage and the new stimulus checks’ income eligibility.
As part of his $1.9 trillion relief plan, President Joe Biden proposes to double the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour. If enacted, the higher mandated wage would eliminate jobs for younger and less‐skilled workers. https://t.co/ZN58vHTWa6 #CatoEcon pic.twitter.com/SO4Qi0AKct
— Cato Institute (@CatoInstitute) February 7, 2021
Said direct payment proposal drafted by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) ends a debate circulating among various ideological factions in the Democratic Party in the past few days.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) did not quickly dismiss the plan when he was asked about the issue last Monday night.
Machin told reporters that he, together with other moderates, are just trying to make sure that Democrats release those payments to Americans who are “truly in need.” He said of House Democrats, “So if they can show that $75,000 and $150,000 is truly in need.”
House Democrats are trying to rush the passage of their own version of Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 packages by the end of February, even though there are key components of the bill that could possibly change by the time that it reaches the Senate. Due to the narrow margin, a single Democrat could determine the fate of the COVID relief bill. At the same time, some members of the Democratic party are already concerned that Machin alone could reject the proposals coming from the House.
Half of Americans want President Biden to keep original qualifications for stimulus checks, even if the bill isn't bipartisan:
— YouGov America (@YouGovAmerica) February 2, 2021
Meanwhile, Biden is placed under increasing pressure to tighten the qualifications set for the third round of stimulus checks as Democrats in the Congress draft the next Coronavirus relief package. Although the President proposed the $1,400 check, Democrats are debating whether they will make it more difficult for Americans to qualify for the payment.
For instance, Manchin proposed to phase out stimulus checks for individuals making above $50,000 rather than the previous threshold of $75,000 used in previous bills.
Biden also told Democrats in the House that he is open to refining the proposal, assuring that the checks will flow to Americans who need it the most. However, he did not offer any specifics on how he will make it happen.