Politics Biden 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus checks for $80K+ earners
3 losers and 2 winners from Biden’s first press conference
Winner: A return to normalcy. Loser: Americans still worried about the Covid-19 pandemic.A White House press corps that has been waiting impatiently for its turn to question the president directly spent about an hour peppering Biden with questions about the surge of unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border, how to address the threat posed by China, his thoughts on the Senate filibuster, and whether he’d run for president in 2024. (It’s his “expectation” that he will.
President Joe Biden is 'comfortable' cutting off stimulus checks to Americans who make more than $80,000, the White House indicated Wednesday, bowing to pressure from Senate moderates.
Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed news reports that said the president backed giving the full $1,400 to Americans who make $75,000 and giving no money to those who make more than $80,000. Same with couples who make more than $160,000.
'He is comfortable with where the negotiations stand,' Psaki said.
Couples who make less than $150,000 will receive the full amount, if the current version of the COVID-19 stimulus bill passes.
Fourth Stimulus Check: Over 60 Lawmakers Now Support Further Direct Payments to Americans
House and Senate Democrats have pushed Biden for more direct payments, but the possible measure would face a legislative challenge. Democrats used a budget process called reconciliation to pass the latest stimulus bill without Republican support. But the process can only be used once every fiscal year. With COVID-19 cases on the decline and vaccines being rolled out, the Biden administration may choose to use reconciliation when it becomes available after October 1 for other Democratic priorities, such as tackling climate change.Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.
The deal was made so that the Senate bill would maintain the $400-a-week unemployment benefit, a dollar amount that was etched out in the last COVID-19 stimulus package, passed under former President Donald Trump.
The move stands to get Senate moderates on board, as the White House pushes to have the $1.9 trillion package passed and signed before the March 14 deadline, which is when some Americans' unemployment benefits expire.
Progressives didn't want to see such tight income restrictions.
'Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did,' Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday afternoon. '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.'
Obama staffers amazed at how 'different' Biden's approach to stimulus is
"This is just incredibly different," says Heidi Shierholz, an Obama DOL veteran. Other staffers from the last Democratic administration agree.Both Democratic presidents entered office having to tackle an economic recession head-on. For some, the $1.9 trillion package passed earlier in March represented a chance to learn from 2009, when a stimulus less than half as large - though a record at the time - led to a slow recovery over the subsequent decade.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat and a pivotal swing vote, had originally proposed for full checks to go to adults who make $50,000 or less and that $75,000 represented the ceiling.
To his left, progressives including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are calling for recurring relief checks to be included in future relief packages.
Psaki said Biden was hopeful the current arrangement was someting 'Democrats of all political backgrounds' could get behind.
The Senate could start debate on the package as early as Wednesday night.
Lawmakers are currently awaiting a score from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to ensure the legislation can be passed under Senate reconciliation rules.
This allows for Democrats to pass the bill without any Republican support, as they have 50 members and the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
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The House version of the bill, which passed early Saturday, also phased out stimulus checks, but had a higher ceiling.
Couples making $199,000 would still get some money, as would singles who make up to $100,000.
The two other series of stimulus checks have also been tailored by income.
The $600 checks, which were part of the December relief package, were to be provided to adults making under $75,000, however individuals under $87,000 could see some money.
The original $1,200 stimulus checks were given in full to adults who made under $75,000, but adults who made up to $99,000 were eligible to recieve some money.
Both Biden and Trump supported stimulus checks.
During his final weeks in office, Trump almost forced a government shutdown when the bill that passed Congress only included checks for $600.
At the last minute, Trump wanted $2,000 checks sent out to Americans instead.
When Biden announced his $1.9 trillion relief package in January, several days before his swearing-in, he backed $1,400 checks, so that with the $600 stimulus, Americans making $75,000 or less would see the full $2,000.
Psaki suggested at the Wednesday briefing that as long as the checks' dollar amount remained at $1,400, he had kept his campaign promise.
Biden campaigned in Georgia in December and January for now Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, on how giving the Senate to the Democrats would pave the way for new payments.
Psaki said Biden had originally proposed that earners with slightly higher incomes would receive at least some stimulus.
'But he also knows that the sausuage making machine sometimes spits out a different package,' she admitted.
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