Democrats Roll Out Plan for $1,400 Relief Payments

Democrats Roll Out Plan for $1,400 Relief Payments

Dado Ruvic

Democrats are moving ahead with their plans to send $1,400 coronavirus relief payments to millions of Americans. House Democrats on Monday rolled out their proposal, which calls for sending the full payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000, rejecting calls from Republicans and some moderates in their own party to scale back eligibility.

Democrats had debated limiting eligibility to individuals making up to $50,000 and couples earning up to $100,000, a structure supported by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who will be a key vote in the evenly divided Senate as Democrats seek to pass the relief package with a simple majority.

But as lawmakers in both parties have pushed to keep high-earning households from receiving the payments, the new Democratic proposal would phase out payments more quickly for individuals earning between $75,000 and $100,000 (and couples making twice those amounts). Individuals making $100,000 a year and couples making $200,000 would not get relief payments under the plan unveiled by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). Unlike earlier relief payments, both children and adult dependents would qualify.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he agrees with the $75,000 threshold set by House Democrats.

Why it matters: “The broadening of stimulus payment eligibility among middle-class households is the latest sign that Democrats are moving ahead without Republican support,” The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein and Erica Werner report. But the income caps and phase-out structure in the blueprint unveiled Monday may remain the subject of debate as Democrats seek to lock down the votes needed to pass the $1.9 trillion package. The Ways and Means Committee is set to begin considering the legislation on Wednesday.

Some other details from the Democrats’ aid package: Democrats also unveiled details of an expanded child tax credit, which we told you about yesterday, as well as an extension of federal supplemental unemployment benefits of $400 a week, up from the current $300, through the end of August (one month less that Biden’s plan initially proposed). Democrats also included a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour and a two-year increase in Affordable Care Act premium subsidies.