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Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden wants to pass an ambitious $1.9 trillion economic aid package that includes a $1,400 stimulus payment for most Americans.
But it’s easier said than done.
That’s because Senate Republicans and even some moderate Democrats seem likely to oppose portions of the broad bill, which includes everything from aid to state governments to raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
To get checks out faster, some House Democrats may now be looking to first pass legislation to send out $1,400 stimulus checks and funding for vaccines (two items that are more likely to garner bipartisan support) in the next week, and then push the broader package until March, Punchbowl News, founded by three former Politico writers, reported on Wednesday.
But the possibility of an expedited $1,400 stimulus check bill is by no means a sure thing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that Democrats will be “completely ready” to get a COVID-19 relief deal on the floor in February. If Biden and Pelosi do insist on keeping the $1,400 stimulus checks in with the broader bill, it could delay the checks as the massive spending bill is likely to face more resistance.
Democrats only have a narrow majority in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote in the 50-50 split chamber. That means every Democratic Senator has to fall in line in order to pass a deal through budget reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes versus the 60 votes it takes to prevent a filibuster. But even that path is uncertain: It remains unclear if they can pass a bill of that scope through budget reconciliation.
Some like Raymond James Washington policy analyst Ed Mills argue the House’s potential consideration to first do a smaller bill including $1,400 stimulus checks and money for vaccines “to notch an immediate legislative victory” is a “positive recent development,” he wrote in a Wednesday note. Though he suggests March is “increasingly looking like the earliest potential timeline” to negotiate the bigger deal. And even in a smaller bill, Mills points out “the push for checks still would have to clear the Senate, where there have been mixed signals” in terms of support.
While President Biden’s “clear preference is to move forward with a bipartisan bill,” Biden spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said Wednesday, “We are also not going to take any tools off the table for how the House and Senate can get this urgent package done.”
Though it remains unclear when a package with the $1,400 checks will pass, we do have a good idea of what the payment will look like. Here’s what we know so far.
How much should I expect? And who is eligible?
Stimulus payments included in the Dec. 2020 package decreased for households with 2019 adjusted gross income (or, federally taxable income) above $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per qualified couple. The last round completely phased out checks for individuals earning above $87,000, and joint filers with no children at $174,000. It’s likely that those levels and thresholds will be used for Biden’s $1,400 stimulus checks, though the Biden administration hasn’t yet released full details.
Once a deal gets passed, when would the $1,400 checks arrive?
After the $900 billion stimulus package on Dec. 27, the $600 payments started to be deposited on Dec. 30—less than the two weeks it took for the $1,200 direct payments from the CARES Act signed in March 2020 to start depositing. Once passed, the Treasury Department would likely follow the same timeline as December and get those $1,400 checks deposited just a few days after the legislation passes.