House Democrats, on Monday, introduced a stimulus plan that would send $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans earning up to $75,000 annually. This proposal rejects the call from the party’s centrist wing to significantly lower the income threshold. President Joe Biden also cleared his stance on the bill, saying he supports the House Democrats’ proposal of sending $1,400 coronavirus stimulus checks to those earning up to $75,000 annually.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: Biden supports House Democrats’ proposal
Biden’s comments on the House Democrats’ bill came after an Oval Office meeting. The meeting included Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and CEOs of some top companies, such as Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Doug McMillon (Walmart), Sonia Syngal (GAP), Marvin Ellison (Lowe's) and Tom Donohue (Chamber of Commerce).
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During the meeting, Biden talked about the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, infrastructure and on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As per a pool report, when Biden was asked if he supports the stimulus check parameters proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee, he said “Yes.”
"A lot of people are in trouble. A lot of people are going to bed at night, wondering if they're going to keep mortgage payments up, have health insurance. We have millions of people on unemployment," Biden told reporters.
The new bill keeps the same income threshold of $75,000 for the checks as the earlier stimulus rounds. Also, it expands the eligibility to give checks to the adults who were left out in the earlier rounds, including disabled or dependents, such as college students.
Ideological differences within Democrats?
Over the past week or so, stimulus check eligibility has been a hot discussion topic, bringing out the ideological differences within the Democratic Party. As Democrats move forward to pass the massive $2 trillion stimulus package using budget reconciliation, they will need support from every single Senate Democrat.
So, they can’t afford to have any differences within the party. However, differences have come out in public. Sen. Joe Manchin has long been arguing in favor of targeted stimulus checks, as well as phasing out checks for those making more than $50,000.
“There are other families who have not missed a single paycheck as a result of this pandemic. It does not make sense to send a check to those individuals," he said on the Senate Floor last week.
On Monday, he indicated that he’s open to the new plan from House Democrats, saying that he and other centrists are working to ensure checks only to those "truly in need."
The House Democrats are expected to start discussions on the stimulus package from Friday. It is likely that the lawmakers would be able to pass the stimulus checks by mid-March, when additional unemployment benefits are set to expire. Along with checks, the new bill also calls for enhanced $400-a-week unemployment payments.