President Joe Biden has agreed to narrow the eligibility for a third round of stimulus checks as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill — and that could mean less money for some Americans.
Under the new structure, according to multiple media reports yesterday, individuals with annual earnings of less than $75,000 and couples who take home less than $150,000 will still receive the full $1,400 payments as outlined in Biden’s original proposal. It’s the same threshold that was used in last year’s distribution of $1,200 checks and January’s $600 payments.
However, the phaseouts differ under the new version, which could get a procedural vote from the Senate as early as today. The agreement reached by Biden and Senate Democrats indicated that individuals who make more than $80,000 each year and couples bringing in more than $160,000 will not receive even partial checks.
In contrast, the prior rounds of financial aid — the CARES Act enacted in March and the bipartisan legislation signed in December — offered reduced stimulus payments to individuals with earnings between $80,000 and $100,000 as well as couples with earnings between $160,000 and $200,000.
Now, for heads of households, those who take home between $112,500 and $120,000 will qualify for the third set of checks. Previously, heads of households who made less than $150,000 were eligible for the stimulus payments.
Those who fall in between the new income thresholds will see a reduction in their checks, but the amount of the cuts remain uncertain. In the past two measures, the payments were lowered by $5 for every $100 in an individual’s or couples’ income.
In yesterday’s briefing at the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked that Biden is “comfortable with where the negotiations stand” and “knows there will be tweaks at the margin.”
“What his firm viewpoint is, is that it needs to meet the scope of the challenge, it needs to be the size he’s proposed, it needs to have the core components in order to have the impact on the American people,” she added.
As for other benefits, the president’s sweeping package includes an extension to federal unemployment benefits through August. It would also set aside $350 billion for state and local aid; $160 billion for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and contact tracing; $130 billion for schools; and billions in funding for rental and food assistance.