The White House announced on Wednesday that President Joe Biden has agreed to a plan to tighten income levels for those who would receive a $1,400 stimulus check in the next COVID-19 relief package.
The new restrictions on income would block nearly 17 million people who have gotten checks before from getting the direct payment.
Biden and Senate Democrats are looking to lower the level at which the payments would be phased out.
Under the proposed Senate plan, individuals making up to $75,000 (in adjusted gross income) would receive a $1,400 payment, with the amount decreasing as income levels climb. The payment would phase out completely for those making more than $80,000.
For those who file as head of household, full payment would go to those making less than $112,500, with the payment phasing out completely at an income of $120,000. For couples, $2,800 goes to those filing jointly and making up to $150,000, and phases out at $160,000.
The COVID-19 relief bill passed by the House Saturday would phase out direct payments to taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 for singles, $112,500 and $150,000 for single parents, and $150,000 and $200,000 for married couples.
The plan would mean that compared to the first two stimulus checks, 11.8 million fewer adults and 4.6 million fewer children would receive a payment, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
Overall, about 280 million Americans would still be eligible for stimulus payments, according to the ITEP.
As the Senate begins debate on the bill, some expressed support for the measure.
“I think we’re really in a good spot and, frankly, the most important thing is to get this done,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Biden is “comfortable” with where negotiations stand.
Others are slamming the administration for the proposed change.
“It will be a real problem if this gets undermined in the Senate,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, said.
House. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, tweeted: “Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did.”
“It’s a move that makes little-to-no political or economic sense, and targets an element of relief that is most tangibly felt by everyday people. An own-goal,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, said Wednesday she believes the bill has “way too much excess,” but has not decided how she plans to vote on the measure, adding, “I’m coming from a state where people are saying we need some help,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, left no doubt on where he stands on the bill.
“This is far, far out of proportion to what’s needed now, with vaccines going into arms and the economy already primed to literally roar back,” McConnell said Wednesday.
Cox Media Group