When Marissa Ortega learned that Senate Democrats could limit who can receive the $1,400 stimulus payment included in the US bailout plan, Marissa Ortega’s heart fell.
The 25-year-old Washington DC resident planned to use the money to rebuild her savings account after supporting her mother, grandmother and aunt for the past year. Ortega makes good money as a software engineer and has not lost any work during the pandemic. But she has had to send thousands of dollars to her relatives — the three women who raised Ortega living in the same house in Texas — to help them with their own Covid-related financial problems.
She is one of many Americans frustrated that the Senate can change the income limits for the $1,400 stimulus payment. The bill passed by the House will completely stop direct payments for individuals who earn $100,000 or more in adjusted gross income (AGI) per year, $120,000 for single parents and $200,000 for couples (who would be $2,800). to get). The Senate is reportedly changing the cap so that no individual earning more than $80,000 and no couple earning more than $160,000 will receive one.
The result: An estimated 12 million fewer adults and 4.6 million fewer children are eligible for the third stimulus payment. And an estimated $12 billion shaved off the $1.9 trillion emergency aid.
The lower income limit to receive the full amount — up to $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for single parents and $150,000 for couples — currently remains the same. This is the second time Democrats have reportedly debated lowering income thresholds for the third direct payment. Ortega says that would be a mistake.
“It may not seem like people with higher incomes are in pain, but there’s a ton that an income just doesn’t tell you,” Ortega says. “I know I’m not the only one who has incurred additional costs due to the pandemic.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the changes in a news conference Thursday, saying that 98% of Americans who received the second stimulus payment would still qualify for the third, a claim supported by Penn-Wharton estimates. Budget Model. She also said the $1,400 check will bring in many families significantly more money than the $600 payments. The latter would, of course, continue to exist if the income limits remained the same.
Still, Ortega says it appears that President Joe Biden is failing to keep his promise to send $2,000 checks to Americans who are struggling financially.
“Now it’s no longer $2,000, it’s $1,400,” she says. “And now they’re changing the limit, they’re changing who gets it. Is it the same control? Of course not.”
‘A slap in the face’
Heather Jackson, 42, also hasn’t lost any income during the pandemic and will still be eligible for the payment, but says the restrictions are arbitrary and harm families like hers. Jackson has seven children and worries about other parents just above the income line.
The Indiana resident says childcare costs have risen for many families during the pandemic, as has the cost of basic goods. It doesn’t make sense that a couple with no kids and an income of $150,000 would receive $2,800, while a couple with an income of just over $160,000 would get nothing, she says.
Anyone with children who meets the income requirements will receive $1,400 for each dependent child, as well as each dependent adult.
Rosemarie McKinney, 52, says the change is akin to a “slap in the face” for middle-class Americans who are ineligible for other public aid such as SNAP benefits, but have higher costs for food and other necessities during the pandemic have to wear.
“I certainly don’t want to be seen as resentful of people with limited resources,” said McKinney, who lives in upstate New York. “But to limit the threshold of those who qualify for this incentive is just ridiculous with all the pork barrel spending going [toward] special projects.'”
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