Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

$1,400 third stimulus check income limit: what would it be?

To keep moderate senators on side some compromises are being made on stimulus check eligibility. Talks on the $1.9tn covid relief bill are ongoing.

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$1,400 third stimulus check income limit: what would it be?
LEIGH VOGEL AFP

Reports have now confirmed that Senate Democrats are going to agree to amend the eligibility requirements to the third round of stimulus checks, which would greatly reduce the pool of Americans eligible for any money at all.

What changes are being made to the eligibility for stimulus checks?

It’s been suggested that the top threshold for eligibility is brought right down, so that moderate Senators such as Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Angus King (I-Maine) stay on board with the entire bill and it can scrape an approval vote in the Senate.

The new covid-19 relief bill passed the House of Representatives last week as is expected to be introduced in the Senate later today, but the bill can still be amended up to the point when it is passed in the Upper House.

Democratic sources, who have asked to remain anonymous, claim that the decision to lower the upper threshold comes just a day after moderate Democratic senators met with President Joe Biden and expressed concern that the financial support offered in the bill was not targeted enough.

What will the new income limit be for third stimulus check?

While the income thresholds of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a couple will remain, the support will phase out much quickly for anyone earning more than those amounts.

The stimulus checks will no longer be sent to individuals earning more than $80,000 (rather than $100,000); while the support for couples will now end at $160,000 (as opposed to $200,000 in the original proposal).

This move would not affect anyone eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus checks, but would significantly reduce the number of ‘middle-earners’ who would receive a smaller portion of the payment. For the time being, it looks as though the $1,400 for all dependents of any age is safe, and will remain in the bill.

Weeks ago, during a Senate vote-a-rama, the chamber voted 99-1 in favour of an unbinding amendment that would called for the stimulus check payments to be more targeted. As the Senate prepares to debate the bill it appears that will be the case.

What else has been altered in senators’ talks on stimulus bill?

Democrat insiders have also revealed that the planned $400 additional weekly unemployment benefits will remain in the final bill, despite some calls to reduce the amount. The CARES Act, signed into law nearly 12 months ago, provided weekly jobless support of $600 per person, but that was reduced to $300 in the emergency relief bill signed by former President Trump in December.

The need to extend the federal emergency unemployment benefits is one of the key priorities for Biden as the Senate prepares to debate the bill. The existing provision is set to end on 14 March, which would see millions of Americans lose the support overnight if a new deal is not agreed.

Some elements have been removed however, with plans for a $1.5 million bridge between New York state and Canada and a “rapid transit project” for the south of San Francisco costing around $140 million trimmed from the bill.

In recent days Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been optimistic about the prospect of passing the new stimulus package, saying: “We want to get the biggest, strongest bill that can pass, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

When could the stimulus bill pass?

Once the covid-19 relief bill is introduced in the Senate it will start the clock ticking on 20 hours of debate. The expectation is that the legislation will be brought to the floor on Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it clear that he intends to work around the clock. “I expect a hearty debate and some late nights,” Schumer said from the Senate floor on Monday.

The main focus has been on Democrats since under budget reconciliation in the evenly divided Senate they just need the 50 votes in their caucus plus Vice President Harris’ tiebreaking vote to pass the bill. But the Republicans could still slow the process down by extending the vote-a-rama session expected Thursday night into Friday morning, pushing it into the weekend or beyond.

For all of the latest updates on the stimulus checks and tax credits as they happen, follow our dedicated live feed