When to expect Biden’s $1,400 stimulus check

January 16, 2021, 11:30 AM UTC

It looks like Capitol Hill is planning to send out more checks.

On Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his own $1.9 trillion economic aid package, a proposal that includes a direct payment of $1,400 to most Americans—which, when combined with the $600 already sent, would give recipients $2,000 in stimulus money.

Back in December, Democrats and President Donald Trump pushed to get $2,000 stimulus checks included in the second COVID-19 relief package—but the effort was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Ultimately, both parties agreed to a $900 billion package that provided $600 stimulus checks. Biden then made a pitch to Georgians: Make sure Democrats win both U.S. Senate seats, and his party would up the checks to $2,000. Georgia voters did just that, sending Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to Washington, D.C., and giving Democrats control of the Senate chamber.

The passage of this $1.9 trillion aid package, which also includes billions of dollars for things like state governments and COVID-19 vaccines, is a top priority for Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20. But when might the bill actually get passed?

While Democrats will control the House, Senate, and the White House, their power—and ability to pass bills—hangs by a thread. Democrats will soon control the 50-50 split Senate with Vice President–elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote. In order to pass legislation in the face of united Republican opposition, they’ll need every single Democratic vote, including that of moderates such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Manchin has already signaled he’s not enthusiastic about $2,000 checks and may pose a roadblock for Democrats as they move to pass the new legislation.

Indeed, economists at Bank of America note the balance of power in Congress may be what holds up the timing of the next stimulus bill. “We think many of the provisions are nonstarters for the Republican caucus (e.g., raising the minimum wage) and would fail to get the necessary support to reach the 60-vote supermajority threshold needed in the Senate,” economists at BofA wrote in a report Friday. “Moreover, some moderate Democrats could balk at the size of the package, making it difficult to pass this package through reconciliation.”

Though some on the Hill have promised a new bill increasing stimulus payments to $2,000 would be the top priority in the new Congress, BofA economists argue the proposed stimulus plan has “a tough road ahead” with the slim Democratic majority, and instead argue it’s more likely a “pared down version of the package in the ballpark of $1 [trillion]” will pass by the end of March.

Who is eligible for the $1,400 checks? How much should I expect?

The Biden camp didn’t release the fine-print details, like income thresholds or cutoffs, for the $1,400 stimulus check. However, it’s likely that those levels will be similar to those used for the last two rounds of stimulus checks. Those payments decreased for households with 2019 adjusted gross income—that is, federally taxable income—above $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per qualified couple. The first checks completely phased out for individuals earning above $99,000, and joint filers with no children at $198,000.

Once a deal gets passed, when would the $1,400 checks arrive?

If the last go-around is any indication, the first of the checks would start to be deposited just a few days after the legislation passes. After President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion stimulus package on Dec. 27, the $600 payments started to be deposited on Dec. 30. That was faster than the two weeks it took for the $1,200 direct payments from the CARES Act signed in March 2020 to start depositing.

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