Following several days of contentious debate, the Senate passed its version of Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on Saturday, sending the legislation back to the House of Representatives for one final vote. The House has already voted in favor of the American Rescue Plan, but because substantial changes were made to the bill after it hit the Senate floor, the House has to vote again in order to approve those changes. The vote is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 9th, and will likely pass along party lines as it did the first time around.
At this point, you’re probably wondering when you could expect to see your $1,400 stimulus check. Providing the vote happens as scheduled, the bill could be on Biden’s desk as early as Wednesday. As CNN notes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started sending out direct payments three days after President Trump signed the last relief bill into law, which means that the first direct deposits could start arriving by next Monday.
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As always, if your bank information is on file with the IRS, you are more likely to receive your money quickly, as it can be deposited directly into your account. If the third round of stimulus checks follows a similar trajectory to the second round, paper checks should start going out a week after the first direct deposits, and Economic Impact Payment debit cards should start to arrive a week after that. It’s possible that all three forms of payment will begin going out before the end of the month, but it all depends on how quickly President Biden signs the bill into law.
The most significant change that the Senate made to the bill from the House was the removal of the federal minimum wage hike. President Biden wanted to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, but the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision should not be allowed in a budget reconciliation bill. Several Senate Democrats were opposed to the idea anyway, so it was unlikely to remain in the bill that reached Biden’s desk.
The Senate also decided to phase out payments more quickly than initially proposed. In the revised bill, individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive the full $1,400, but the payments will phase out altogether for individuals earning over $80,000 and couples earning over $160,000. According to the ITEP (Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy), this will cut off millions of people who were expecting relief.
Finally, the Senate bill also reinstates the $300 weekly unemployment benefits of the previous relief package through September 6th, but does not raise the amount to $400 per week, as the House bill would have. These compromises will be hard pills to swallow for progressive Democrats, but nevertheless, relief is on the way.
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