Joe Biden and Democratic leaders have reached a compromise on a deal that would limit entitlement to $ 1,400 stimulus checks, as lawmakers fight over the President’s proposed $ 1.9 billion economic relief plan before a vote in the upper house.
The House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, last week past the coronavirus relief bill, which includes $ 1,400 in out-of-pocket payments, an extension of federal UI top-ups and $ 350 billion for state and local governments.
But the bill – which Biden has made the centerpiece of his legislative agenda – is now being considered by the Senate, which has a 50-50 balance between Democrats and Republicans, with Kamala Harris, the vice president, able to shatter it. ‘equality. vote.
Several moderate Democrats, including Joe manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, argued that the bill – which would be the second-largest stimulus package in US history – needs to be more “targeted.”
Biden accepted a proposal from the moderate Democrats on Wednesday that would phase out the $ 1,400 checks at a faster rate than the White House had initially expected, according to a Democratic source.
Under the plan proposed by the White House and passed by the House, adults earning less than $ 75,000 per year and couples earning up to $ 150,000 per year would be eligible for single checks of $ 1,400. Smaller checks would be sent to people earning up to $ 100,000 per year and couples earning up to $ 200,000 per year.
But under the revised plan, the phase-out would happen more quickly, with individuals and couples earning over $ 80,000 and $ 150,000, respectively, not eligible for checks.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Biden was “comfortable with the negotiating position” and had been “clear that he was open to changes on the sidelines of this package. “.
“He also knows that the sausage-making machine sometimes spits out different packaging,” she added.
Out-of-pocket payments of up to $ 1,200 were among the most popular provisions in the $ 2.3 billion care law that Congress passed and former President Donald Trump enacted a law last March at the start of this year. the Covid-19 pandemic. A subsequent $ 900 billion stimulus package, signed late last year, included additional checks of up to $ 600.
House Democrats on Wednesday were mixed on the changes, although most agreed they were likely to be approved by the lower house of Congress. Both the House and Senate will need to pass the relief package before it can be sent to the White House for Biden’s signing.
John Yarmuth, the Kentucky Democrat who chairs the House Budget Committee, said, “I think that makes a lot of sense. It’s okay with me. I thought going up to $ 200,000 was a bad idea. “
But Pramila Jayapal, the Democratic member for Washington state who chairs the Progressive House caucus, told reporters: “I don’t like it being cut. I feel like survival checks are the simplest, simplest, and most popular populist proposition.
“I mean, if that’s the only change, that’s one thing,” she added. “If there are other changes, it will be something else.”
Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said: ‘I don’t like it, a lot of others don’t, but we knew the President’s rescue plan did ‘was not going to get 100% of what we want. “
The Democratic source said the Senate was not supposed to revise proposed provisions for unemployment insurance, another key pillar of the package. The House bill includes a federal supplement of $ 400 per week in additional unemployment insurance until the end of August.