As House Democrats push for $ 1,400 stimulus checks, the decision on who qualifies could change
Stimulus Checks printed at the Philadelphia Financial Center in Philadelphia.
Jeff Fusco | Getty Images
With a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package coming together on Capitol Hill, millions of additional direct payments to Americans could be in the works.
The legislation under discussion includes $ 1,400 of stimulus checks that could push total direct payments to Americans to $ 2,000 in recent months.
The $ 1,400 would go to adults as well as children and dependents.
To qualify, individuals and families would need to have an income in specific areas.
Individuals with adjusted gross income up to $ 75,000 and married couples up to $ 150,000 receive full payments. Those with incomes above that level would cut their payments and eventually run out at $ 100,000 for individuals and $ 200,000 per couple.
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The thresholds for qualifying for the money have been hotly debated by both Democrats and Republicans.
Some lawmakers from both parties have complained that the thresholds are too high. A Republican proposal was to cap payments to $ 50,000 annual income for individuals and $ 100,000 for couples.
Still others, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Have objected to keeping the thresholds so low.
“To tell a worker in Vermont or California or any other place that if you make $ 52,000 a year you are too rich to get this aid, the full benefits, I find it absurd,” Sanders said recently said.
This week the House Ways and Means Committee released its bill that included an exit rate of $ 50 for every $ 1,000 above the full payment thresholds. While this quota is similar to previous controls, experts say the proposal will help limit how much higher earners, such as those with multiple children, may receive.
The question now arises as to whether the proposal could be significantly changed if the House moves the measure forward.
Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former Senate employee, said he was expecting no premium on the Senate finance committee.
Since the legislature wants to push the package forward through budget voting, only so many changes can be made.
“The process of how you can change a reconciliation bill is very limited,” said Hoagland.
All changes must be German or relevant and not be irrelevant, he said. The definition of what would be considered a German amendment in the Senate is very restrictive.
“You can change a number,” said Hoagland. “You can hit something.
“But it’s very limited,” he added. “You cannot add a new language.”
If instead the Senate Finance Committee flagged the bill, the proposal would go through a more normal legislative process. This could lead to further changes, including stricter eligibility rules for the payments.
“But the current train is going very fast and it will be difficult to change what’s coming out of the house,” said Hoagland.