President Joe Biden wants to send Americans who earn less than $75,000 per year another stimulus check payment of $1,400. Deficit-weary Republican senators and some moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia have already gone on record that he does “absolutely not” support including the additional payment in any relief deal.
Sounding more like a fiscal conservative, Senator Manchin asked, “How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed…I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check.”
There is no agreement yet on what the next round of stimulus check eligibility will be. If it follows last year’s plan, eligibility would taper off for individuals who earn $75,000 ($150,000 for families) per year.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) wondered why families making $300,000 should also be eligible for the payment. That high threshold kicks in for families with multiple children. Those families could receive some stimulus money, even if they have not suffered financial setback.
Said Collins, “At least in my state, if you’re a household of five people with an income in excess of $300,000, it’s unlikely that you’ve been financially harmed by the pandemic. Whereas, lower-income workers and small businesses in the hospitality industry have been devastated.”
It all began when lawmakers in both parties lobbied National Economic Council Director Brian Deese for a “more targeted” relief bill. Key centrist lawmakers of both parties raised questions not only about the new round of $1,400 stimulus checks, but demanded justification for the billions for other purposes—e.g., $130 billion for schools. What about the $4 trillion that Congress has spent so for, not to mention the $900 billion approved in December?
There are, according to Senator Collins “still a lot of unanswered questions, most notably, how did the administration come up with 1.9 trillion dollars required, given that our figures show that there’s still about $1.8 trillion left to be spent?”
What is certain is that unless the Biden administration makes some eligibility changes, the Senate won’t be able to muster the filibuster-proof 60 votes to pass the measure. The Senate could invoke the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a majority 51 votes. Just one defection — Democrat Senator Manchin, for example — would torpedo the plan if Republicans hold ranks.
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) described the nearly $2 trillion price tag of President Biden’s plan as “pretty shocking.” Other GOP resistance is to increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Meanwhile, progressives in the House are unhappy over the $1,400 stimulus check in the Biden package. They want the full $2,000 payment that President Biden promised. In fact, Biden weighed in on the full $2,000 amount just before the Georgia senate runoffs. Biden told Georgia voters that if they sent the Democrat candidates to Washington, “those $2,000 checks will go out the door.”
What may have gone “out the door” was the first in a series of promises that President Biden won’t be able to keep.