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Politics Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks

12:36  05 march  2021
12:36  05 march  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Senate Democrats’ move to limit the eligibility for the latest round of stimulus checks to people making ,000 or less is frustrating progressives , who say it makes little sense for President Biden to distribute payments to fewer people than wha. Biden agreed to the change this week as a concession to centrist senators, whose votes he needs to move the legislation through the narrowly divided 50-50 Senate. The decision is unlikely to cut into the Democratic vote for the measure, as so far no progressives are threatening to oppose the .9 trillion COVID-19 relief package over the change.

Progressives grumble but won ' t sink relief bill over fewer stimulus checks | TheHill. After Democrats agreed Wednesday to raise the bar for who gets stimulus checks , the Senate appears poised to pass the bill after debate and amendments.

Senate Democrats' move to limit the eligibility for the latest round of stimulus checks to people making $80,000 or less is frustrating progressives, who say it makes little sense for President Biden to distribute payments to fewer people than what was done under former President Trump.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks © Greg Nash Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks

Biden agreed to the change this week as a concession to centrist senators, whose votes he needs to move the legislation through the narrowly divided 50-50 Senate.

The decision is unlikely to cut into the Democratic vote for the measure, as so far no progressives are threatening to oppose the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package over the change. But it has left a bitter taste for many.

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Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the Associated Press, President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have agreed to tighten income limits for the next round of ,400 stimulus checks .Jeff Fusco/Getty.

Senate bill will narrow income eligibility for ,400 stimulus checks . Senate Democrats and President Joe Biden settled a last-minute debate over Biden's .9 trillion pandemic relief bill on Republicans opposing a .9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed the House have pointed to two transportation projects Republican, progressive and media criticism of Joe Biden is overblown.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called it an "own-goal" that will hurt Democrats.

"Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. "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."

The package will deliver $1,400 checks to qualifying households.

Individuals making $75,000 or less will be eligible for the full stimulus check, which is higher than the $600 and $1,200 direct payments in the two previous pandemic relief measures that included them.

The changes would cut off eligibility at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples. Previously, checks gradually phased out for individuals making up to $100,000 and couples earning up to $200,000.

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Biden signs off on narrowing income limits for stimulus checks in a bid to win moderate support. If Republican senators are united in opposition to President Biden’s stimulus bill , the chamber’s Democrats will need to be united in order to pass it.Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times. President Biden agreed on Wednesday to place stricter income limits on the next round of stimulus payments, making the latest in a series of crucial concessions to moderates as Democrats worked to hold their fragile coalition together to push his .9 trillion pandemic aid package through a divided Senate.

The new bill would touch everything from direct stimulus payments and extending unemployment insurance to propping up the airline industry, giving new money for vaccines and helping troubled school districts. Republicans have groused about the size of the stimulus package and some of the specific measures, like the size of stimulus checks for certain groups. Republicans want much smaller checks , if any at all. There have also been criticisms of funding to public transportation authorities hurting because of the pandemic.

As a result, individuals with incomes between $80,000 and $100,000 - or couples making double that - who received partial relief checks in the previous rounds wouldn't get a cent this time.

Democrats opposed to the eligibility changes warned that people with incomes of $80,000 to $100,000 are still considered middle-class in high-cost urban areas, especially if they have dependent children.

"This is madness. People are struggling and we're fighting over how many people we want to EXCLUDE from the relief checks," Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) wrote in a series of tweets on Thursday.

"What about the family w/ several kids who made 160k but lost their job in 2020? Or the person who made 80k pre-pandemic but lives in a high cost-of-living state like NJ or NY? We're going to cut them out?" Watson Coleman asked.

Estimates vary on exactly how many fewer people would receive stimulus checks, but experts across the spectrum predicted the changes would impact at least several million households.

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Democrats tighten stimulus check eligibility, firm up support for virus bill . A source said President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have agreed to tighten the income limits for people who will be eligible to receive 00 stimulus Democrats won ’ t gain anything from scaling back stimulus checks . It’s implausible to think that Manchin or Sinema would have torpedoed the entire relief bill over this relatively minor question.

Although not included in Biden's stimulus bill , small business pandemic aid is also set to expire this month. On February 22, the president amended the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure equitable access to relief, including the opening of a two-week period where the smallest businesses can apply for the program, along with eliminating certain restrictions that prevented businesses President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed to tighten eligibility limits for stimulus checks Wednesday, bowing to party moderates as leaders prepared to move their .9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the Senate.

The left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated that 17 million fewer people - adults and children - would benefit under the Senate proposal compared to the House-passed bill, while the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute calculated that about 8.7 million fewer households would be eligible. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center also estimated that about 8 million fewer households would receive payments.

The Internal Revenue Service reported issuing more than 160 million direct payments in the first round and close to 150 million in the second.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) acknowledged that he "would have preferred the House bill" that kept the income threshold for stimulus checks the same as the previous rounds.

But Wyden noted the $80,000 limit for individuals is higher than the $50,000 some centrists had been pushing out of concerns that some people with higher incomes would be getting checks even if they didn't necessarily need them.

"So, we've had a lot of battles," Wyden told reporters.

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Sen. Angus King (Maine), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said that he "wanted to be sure that the individual payments were targeted to those most in need."

"I think it's getting close to where I'm comfortable," King said Thursday of the overall package.

Some centrists want to further limit other benefits in the sprawling COVID-19 relief package, like the $400 weekly unemployment insurance supplement. But that provision is expected to remain intact despite the centrists' push.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said that he would prefer keeping the unemployment insurance boost at the current $300 per week, but acknowledged "a lot of my conference is $400, so there's a difference there."

"I want to continue the $300. It's been there. I want to make sure people know they can rely on that and count on that," Manchin said.

Top House Democrats are signaling that the change in eligibility for the stimulus checks wouldn't be a deal-breaker once the Senate sends the relief package back to the lower chamber.

"I think it makes a lot of sense. I'm fine with it. I thought going up to $200,000 was bad optics," said House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), meanwhile, said that he was "open to changes in the phase out" for the direct checks and stressed that the unemployment insurance provision should remain unchanged.

Progressive Caucus Chair Jayapal Calls Changes to Stimulus Bill 'Relatively Minor Concessions'

  Progressive Caucus Chair Jayapal Calls Changes to Stimulus Bill 'Relatively Minor Concessions' "The American Rescue Plan is a truly progressive and bold package that delivers on its promise to put money directly in people's pockets," Representative Pramila Jayapal said.Progressive Democrats pushed for the inclusion of an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, higher federal unemployment payments and more generous stimulus checks eligibility in President Joe Biden's COVID-19 rescue package.

"If you had to pick out or single out one item that more than anything else in the CARES Act saved the American economy, it was the unemployment insurance. So the fact that they have not touched the unemployment insurance with a supplement, I think is a good thing," Neal said.

And despite the progressives' grumbling, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) held off on warning that she and her allies would vote against the relief package with the changes.

"I don't like that this is being narrowed," Jayapal said. "We're looking to see what the whole package looks like, but all of us understand the urgency of getting this through."

There isn't much time for any additional ping-ponging of changes between the chambers - or much room for protests. House Democrats can only afford up to four defections if all Republicans oppose a bill.

And Democrats are up against the deadline of March 14, when the current unemployment insurance benefits expire.

The Senate is expected to amend the House-passed legislation later this week or over the weekend. Once that happens, the House plans to take up the Senate changes next week and clear it to the president.

"This is Congress working its will," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday, predicting they will send the relief package to Biden's desk "in a matter of several days."

Alexander Bolton contributed.

How to Track Your $1,400 Stimulus Check .
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Americans could begin receiving their stimulus checks as early as this weekend.The president's $1.9 trillion economic rescue package includes one-time payments of up to $1,400 for qualifying individuals, the third such payment that Americans are set to receive as the Biden administration tries to ease the economic distress from the coronavirus pandemic.

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