Stimulus Check News: House Democrats Announce the Specifics of Their Relief Plan
Here's what Democrats are planning for coronavirus relief as they put President Biden's plan into action.
President Joe Biden announced the framework of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill even before being sworn in. Democrats are now drafting legislation based on the president's plans.
The House Committee on Ways and Means announced that it is considering nine specific legislation proposals, which will comprise half of the $1.9 trillion total relief package. Other House committees are drafting other pieces of the legislation. All of the separate legislative proposals will then be combined into one bill that will be voted on by the full U.S. House of Representatives.
Here are the specifics of what the House Committee on Ways and Means has outlined, including details on the $1,400 stimulus check that will go to most Americans.
$1,400 stimulus payments are available for adults and dependents, but high earners won't see checks
Biden and other Democrats promised Americans they would fulfill former President Donald Trump's failed proposal to provide $2,000 checks. And the House Committee on Ways and Means proposal includes direct payments aimed at doing just that.
The checks are for $1,400, rather than the full $2,000, because they combine with the $600 delivered by a relief bill passed at the end of last December. The $1,400 will be available for each adult and for each dependent. This includes both child and adult dependents, while prior coronavirus relief checks have been limited to just child dependents under 17.
The income threshold to be eligible for the full check amount is the same as it was under previous bills. Singles with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 will receive the full check. However, eligibility phases out faster under this proposal than under past checks. Single tax filers will receive no payments once their income reaches $100,000 and married couples will see no payments once their income reaches $200,000.
Here's what else is in the relief bill
In addition to stimulus checks, the House Committee on Ways and Means plan also includes:
- An extension of federal unemployment benefits for those who have exhausted state eligibility or who otherwise don't normally qualify. Biden had proposed extending these benefits through the end of September but the House proposal will extend them through Aug. 29.
- An increase in extra weekly unemployment benefits. Workers are currently getting $300 extra per week, but this proposal will bump that to $400.
- An expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit to $3,600 for each child under six and $3,000 for each older child. The credit is currently set at $2,000 and is only partly refundable. This bill would make it fully refundable.
- Expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit so families can claim as much as half the amount of their childcare costs.
- An increase in premium tax credits under The Affordable Care Act to make health insurance more affordable for lower-income families.
- Help for nursing homes, emergency assistance for vulnerable individuals, and funds to stabilize employee pension funds
In addition to these proposals, other parts of the legislation are expected to include funding for schools and childcare providers; money for vaccine distribution, aid to state and local governments, and an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
It's not clear if all of these proposals will be able to make their way into final legislation though. The Democrats have just 50 votes in the U.S. Senate (with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the 51st vote). Legislation needs 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and Republicans will not provide them. Democrats can move the bill through a process called reconciliation that requires only a bare majority of 51, but there are rules about what can be included -- and raising the minimum wage may not be allowed.
Still, Democrats are moving quickly and now that House committees are moving forward with drafting legislative proposals, Americans can expect to see more money in their bank accounts very soon.
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