Biden Limits Stimulus Check Eligibility

Striking a deal with President Joe Biden, Senate Democrats agreed to give stimulus checks worth $1,400 to fewer people. Every American who makes up to $75,000 and filed individually would get the full amount before the amount starts reducing for higher incomes. However, instead of cutting off at $100,000, as the previous COVID-19 relief package did, the new Senate bill would cut off payments at $80,000.

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Couples earning up to $150,000 and who filed jointly would get the full amount. Instead of cutting off at $200,000, the Senate bill would zero out at $160,000. Taxpayers filing as heads of households and earning up to $112,500 would get the full $1,400, with the payments phasing out at $120,000.

Essentially, the payments would zero out faster under the new proposal, which came a day after President Biden met with moderate Democratic senators who said the relief bill should be more narrowly targeted. However, the bill still maintains the maximum amount of $1,400, which Biden had promised during his Presidential campaigns.

The Senate bill would maintain weekly federal unemployment benefits at $400 through August, just as the House bill passed on February 27 proposed. The Democratic-controlled Senate was expected to proceed with the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill by early March.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is yet to affirm the legislation would comply with rules under the reconciliation process, allowing Democrats in the evenly split Senate to bypass the obstruction and approve the bill with a simple majority. 

This is the second time the Democrats have narrowed the scope of the new round of $1,400 stimulus checks. To appease moderates, the House bills cut off the $1,400 payments more quickly than the previous bills—couples making $199,000 will now receive no payments compared to earlier bills (when they got some amount).