As part of a new COVID-19 aid package, Democrats are pushing for Americans to receive a third round of stimulus payments.
The bill includes new checks, expanded unemployment benefits through August, and health care subsidies for unemployed Americans.
Democrats and Republicans disagree on how much money Americans should receive and who qualify, though members of both parties have supported a third check in one form or another.
A new set of controls would provide much-needed relief to Americans as economic conditions remain bleak. There are 10 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic, while the unemployment rate stands at 6.4% (double from a year ago).
Here are the latest details on the next round of direct payments.
How much could you receive?
On Monday, House Democrats released a proposal for COVID-19 relief, which would include handing out $1,400 checks to U.S. households.
The income thresholds remain the same as the first two sets of payments. Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 will receive the full amount. However, payments are phased out more quickly compared to the previous checks, with payment amounts decreasing for individuals earning from $75,000 to $100,000, and joint submitters earning from $150,000 to $200,000.
Ahead of Georgia’s second election, Democrats campaigned to send checks for $2,000. That amount includes the $600 approved by Congress in December. The $1,400 payments proposed by the Democrats are the remainder of the $2,000 total.
And if you did not receive the first two incentive checks because your income was too high in 2018 and 2019, then you will be eligible for those earlier direct benefits based on your income in 2020 if you meet the requirements.
“Anyone who has not received their first stimulus payments must file a 2020 tax return to claim their payments from March and December of last year,” said Kris Cox, deputy director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Marketplace.
What hurdles are there to get them?
Lawmakers in both parties have opposed the eligibility requirements for the next round of stimulus and are calling for lower income thresholds.
sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, led a proposal that would reduce checks from $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for joint filers.
However, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has criticized these caps, tweeting that “Telling an employee who makes $52,000 a year that they are ‘too rich’ to get the full $2,000 in direct aid is totally absurd.”
And President Joe Biden supports maintaining the same thresholds as the previous two payments.
John Hudak of the Brookings Institution said that while there has been disagreement, he thinks the thresholds set by the House Democrats (i.e. the full amount for individuals earning $75,000 and joint petitioners earning $150,000) will prevail.
“It will be very difficult for Democrats to inflict a blatant defeat on their new president in his first major legislative effort,” said Hudak, deputy director of the institute’s Center for Effective Public Management.
Hudak added that Manchin’s situation is an “excellent” reason why this bill will eventually be passed. While the congressman won’t support all aspects of it, Hudak pointed out that Manchin is from West Virginia — a state that is hurting economically for reasons both related and unrelated to COVID-19.
“This is the kind of aid that will really help the people of West Virginia,” Hudak said. “And he knows that if he stands up and casts a vote that would ultimately prevent that relief from going to an American, especially West Virginians, it’s probably going to be too difficult a vote for Joe Manchin to cast.”
When would you get them?
Democrats want to have the entire COVID-19 aid package into law by mid-March. Hudak thinks that timeline is pretty optimistic, but not impossible.
But every time the package is approved, Francine Lipman, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said she thinks you’ll get a payment in a few weeks if it’s based on your 2019 income.
Under the Democrats’ plan, the payment would be based on income returns for 2019 or 2020.
“The Treasury has gotten a lot better with it” [checks]. If you can remember the first one, it took some time,” Lipman said. “But the second they definitely pushed out quickly.”
However, Lipman said the payment could take a little longer if it’s based on 2020 income.
“Once your 2020 return is processed, it may take a few weeks after that,” she noted.
We’re also in tax season, but Lipman said she thinks the IRS will still try to speed up check distribution.
Does this mean the end of stimulus controls during the crisis?
Hudak said he thinks everyone in Congress want this is the final round of stimulus checks.
“The Republicans want it to be the last round because they’re tired of deficit spending — suddenly again — and they just want this kind of government support over,” he said. “Democrats want this to be the last round of scrutiny because they want this to solve the problem.”
But this may not be the final payment, and Democrats understand that, he said.
“If this doesn’t jump-start the economy, if something happens in the public health space that we don’t foresee, or if something else happens that may or may not be economically related to COVID, and we continue to slide into recession, then it’s about be a strong case for another round of aid,” said Hudak.