President Biden is fast approaching his 100th day in office next month, while, at least for Democrats, unsatisfying stimulus updates keep emerging from a White House that was supposed to have signed a stimulus bill into law by now thanks to enjoying control of Congress.
And the compromises keep coming. This week, in an effort to hold on to support in the Senate for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, President Biden agreed to a concession whereby stricter income-related eligibility limits will be placed on who gets a $1,400 stimulus check in this third round of disbursements. An analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that this change means around 12 million fewer adults will receive the benefit of a stimulus check — which is presumably another bitter pill to swallow for Democrats, who already had to accept the fact that the check amounts had shrunk from the $2,000 that was promised on the campaign trail before Biden took office.
The Senate will reportedly start advancing toward a vote on the Biden legislation this afternoon, and it remains to be seen how much benefit the president will get from the concession on eligibility — the details of which are as follows:
As we noted yesterday, these are the new amounts at which the $1,400 stimulus payments will start to phase out, with the second amount listed below being the max income figure that will trigger the recipient from being phased out of receiving any amount of stimulus money at all.
- $75,000 for single filers (which is the same as the bill the House passed); this is now capped at $80,000, which means individuals who make more than that won’t receive a new stimulus check of any amount.
- $112,500 for heads of households (same as the House plan); now capped at $120,000.
- $150,000 for joint filers (same as the House plan); now capped at $160,000.
Pour one out for the organizer in Georgia in '22 who has to go knock on doors and explain in less than a minute the eligibility requirements of a stimulus check that was supposed to be $2,000 and sort of is but didn't meet the threshold to…
Votes just evaporating into the air. https://t.co/HtmBXzHFcU
— David Jonas (@DavidTSJonas) March 3, 2021
As noted, the income eligibility compromise was another in a series of multiple blows to Democrats who have been chomping at the bit to pass what Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said will be “the single largest anti-poverty bill in recent history.”
On the plus side, as far as Democrats are concerned, Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan is packed with aid that includes billions of dollars for state and local governments, for hospitals, to help with coronavirus vaccine distribution — and, of course, direct financial aid to struggling families. However, in addition to trimming the overall amount of the checks and tightening up the eligibility, another compromise that had to be made was jettisoning an effort to add a federal minimum-wage increase to this legislation.
The passage of the overall bill is probably not in question at this point, but Republicans don’t intend to make it easy. In an effort to slow the whole thing down, for example, Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson said on Wednesday he’s going to try and force the text of the legislation to be read aloud in the Senate, which will slow everything down considerably, to say the least.