- House Democrats released a draft of stimulus legislation on Monday evening.
- It kept the stimulus check thresholds put forward in the Biden rescue package, a dismissal of a push from some Democrats to restrict who can get a full check.
- Democrats in the House are racing to put the Biden stimulus plan for a floor vote by the end of the month.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
House Democrats released a stimulus plan to maintain the income limit for stimulus checks at $75,000 for individual taxpayers and $150,000 for couples, dismissing an attempt from some Senate Democrats to sharply limit who can receive a direct payment.
Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the proposal ahead of expected committee work. It may still undergo changes as committees start fashioning the Biden rescue plan into legislation over the next two weeks.
“Our nation is struggling, the virus is still not contained, and the American people are counting on Congress to meet this moment with bold, immediate action,” Neal said in a statement.
The proposal would distribute payments to individual taxpayers making $75,000 and under, along with couples earning $150,000 or less — the same parameters in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package.
However, the legislation increases the rate at which payments diminish. Single-filers earning $100,000 annually and joint-filers making $200,000 would no longer be eligible to receive federal cash.
Early momentum appears to be gathering behind Democrats pressing to keep the existing income thresholds for checks that Biden laid out in his economic aid package. Some centrists such as Sen. Joe Manchin favor tightening eligibility for the checks to ensure wealthier people who didn’t suffer job losses cannot get one.
But that has sparked resistance among many Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia became the latest Democratic senator to oppose curtailing the checks in an interview with Insider.
“I think people making $75,000 in Georgia are struggling in many instances,” he said on Monday, adding he was committed to “getting as many people help as soon as we can.”
The Biden plan includes the $1,400 checks, $400 federal unemployment benefits, assistance to state and local governments, a boosted child tax credit, and vaccine distribution funds among other provisions. The White House said its open to negotiating on the check thresholds, but they have not settled on them yet.
“There’s a discussion right now about what that threshold will look like,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. “A conclusion hasn’t been finalized.”
A group of Senate Republicans also supported restricting the check income thresholds, a move possibly excluding at least 29 million families who qualify for a check under the Biden plan.
Wyden said in a statement he would press for six months of enhanced unemployment insurance after the House Democratic plan cut one month of jobless benefits.
“Relief checks and jobless benefits are the most tangible parts of the economic relief package for those struggling to make ends meet,” he said.
Democrats are setting up a swift timetable to pass coronavirus relief using the reconciliation process. It’s a maneuver allowing a bill to clear the Senate with only 51 votes instead of the 60 typically required.
During the vote-a-rama in the Senate last week, both Democrats and Republicans approved a nonbinding amendment barring stimulus checks from rich families. The nonbinding amendment introduced by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Manchin didn’t specify an income amount.
Democratic-led committees will begin marking up legislation for the Biden plan in the next two weeks, aiming for a floor vote sometime in the week of February 22. Then, the bill would go to the Senate for passage and eventually Biden’s desk for his signature.
Other parts of the legislation that were introduced Monday include a $15 minimum wage, emergency funding for schools and universities, and other pandemic-related benefits.