Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Third stimulus check: has anyone been pushing for payments over $1,400?

These days it's easy to be confused about who's backing what in the world of stimulus checks. Here's a breakdown of where key players stand.

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Third stimulus check: has anyone been pushing for payments over $1,400?
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP

The negotiations in Congress on a stimulus bill worth $1.9tn, which would bring with it a third stimulus check of up to $1,400 are on hold this week, as the Senate just went into recess until Monday 22 February.

Who has been pushing to raise the total checks in the bill to more than $1,400?

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted on Sunday;

“Thank you @USProgressives for your leadership. The Covid Bill in the House increases stimulus checks to $2000 for the working class, raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, cuts childhood poverty in half and extends unemployment benefits. The Senate must prepare to act quickly.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) that Sanders tagged in the post are a group of almost 100 members of Congress who work towards progressive ideals. They claim to advocate for “progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and advance civil liberties.”

The CDC is chaired by Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), alongside CPC First Vice Chair, Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17), and CPC Whip, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN-05).

Is Bernie Sanders calling for more than $1,400 stimulus checks?

No. Now it may seem as though Sanders and the CDC were calling for a hike from a $1,400 maximum stimulus check originally included in Biden's American Rescue Plan (ARP) to $2,000.

However, conversely, the parts of the stimulus bill Sanders references in this tweet doesn’t actually challenge Biden's upper limit for checks at $1,400. What it calls for instead is that the full amount ($1,400) should be available to any individuals making $75,000 or under. Some lawmakers – including Democrats - were pushing to start the phase-out at $50,000 instead.

Who has called for stimulus checks of $2,000?

The work of progressive groups in Congress to raise stimulus checks to $2,000 and even to make them recurring is nothing new.

For almost a year, some lawmakers have been pushing for just that. In January a group of more than 50 progressive lawmakers have signed a letter calling for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to provide recurring monthly payments, instead of the one-off stimulus checks currently proposed.

The group, led by Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, argue that the standstill in Congress over previous rounds of support have left millions of millions without any financial relief.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has long been one of them, criticising her fellow lawmakers, including the President, who plans to fulfil the promise of $2,000 checks by adding the $600 second stimulus check received in December to the next check at $1,400.

"Some of the same folks who said “defunding huge PD budgets & shifting $ to schools is too hard to explain” are now saying “Well $1400 is actually $2k if you recall the $600 from a diff president, carry the 1- yes I know ads showed $2k checks, but thresholds-”

"Just help people!" AOC tweeted.

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