Daily Stimulus Update: Democrats Forge Forward as Republicans Ask for More Targeted Aid

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Feb. 3, 2021

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Democrats are intent on moving forward with stimulus aid -- whether Republicans agree or not.

President Joe Biden remains committed to providing meaningful coronavirus relief to the public, and he's still intent on getting his $1.9 trillion aid package, known as the American Rescue Plan, signed into law. That proposal, if passed, would put a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks into Americans' bank accounts.

But this week, Republicans voiced their concerns that Biden's stimulus plan is too generous. In fact, earlier this week, Biden met with a group of opposing lawmakers to talk about the possibility of more targeted aid. Ultimately, though, Republicans may not get that much of a say on the stimulus front.

Democrats are pushing forward

Republican lawmakers are saying that $1,400 stimulus checks are too generous despite the greater economic crisis at hand. Instead, they're looking to offer up $1,000 checks as part of a $619 billion counterproposal to Biden's whopping $1.9 trillion package. They also want to lower the threshold for stimulus eligibility so that well-off households don't wind up with free cash they can save or use for luxuries. Instead, they want that money to go to the people who really need it the most.

Biden has said that he's willing to compromise in that regard by lowering those income thresholds. For the last two stimulus rounds, single tax filers earning $75,000 or less got a full stimulus payment and the same held true for married couples filing jointly earning $150,000 or less. Republicans are asking to change those levels to $50,000 for single tax filers and $100,000 for couples filing jointly.

That said, Biden seems to be holding firm with regard to that $1,400 figure -- especially in light of the fact that the last $600 stimulus round that went out wasn't nearly as generous as the first, which featured $1,200 checks.

Democratic lawmakers are also getting ready to move forward with Biden's relief plan without Republican support. And now that they control the Senate, they can technically get away with that by attaching legislation to a budget through a process known as reconciliation, which can move forward with a minimum majority vote.

Of course, Biden has made it clear from the start that he's not willing to stall on coronavirus aid. Given that Americans had to wait months between the CARES Act, which was signed into law in late March of 2020, and the most recent relief package, which was signed into law in late December, he wants to avoid a repeat scenario this time around. After all, Americans need relief now, and any delay at this point could prove catastrophic for those impacted the most by the pandemic.

In addition to offering another round of stimulus checks, Biden's proposal also includes boosted and enhanced unemployment benefits through September. Currently, jobless workers are getting an extra $300 a week in their benefits, but Biden is looking to increase that boost to $400 to do a better job of replacing missing paychecks. That boost, plus a more robust stimulus check, could help many households stay afloat during these trying times.

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