Stimulus check update – Third $1,400 Covid payment may be delayed as negotiations intensify

Stimulus check update – Third $1,400 Covid payment may be delayed as negotiations intensify

02/09/2021

FOR many Americans, the third stimulus check as part of the coronavirus relief package can't come soon enough.

But just how much longer eligible people will have to continue to wait for the $1400 payments remains up in the air as negotiations intensify between the Democrats and Republicans.


There are three things that need to happen for the next stimulus checks to end up in the pockets of Americans.

First, lawmakers and leaders have to agree on a suite of qualifications that govern who will and won't get the full stimulus check amount. Second, the bill has to pass both chambers of Congress and third, the IRS will have to calculate and process a third payment – which would likely happen in the middle of tax season, further complicating matters, CNET reports.

“I have told both Republicans and Democrats that’s my preference: to work together. But if I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis, that’s an easy choice,” Biden said Friday.

“I’m going to help the American people who are hurting now.”

This $1,400 stimulus check is already complicated as is, but new eligible groups and a "targeted" check amount add more dimensions that need to be worked out before a bill can come to a vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is aiming for President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to clear the House February 22, which would line it up to arrive sooner than the previously forecast date of March 14.

"Absolutely. Without any question. Before then," Pelosi said February 5.

When you actually receive your personal payment is another question. The gap between the time Congress might approve a $1,400 stimulus check and when it lands in your bank account or mailbox could differ depending on which payment group you're part of. 

The White House has said it is open to negotiation on who should be eligible to receive the coronavirus relief package payments.

Senior House Democrats on Monday night proposed sending $1,400 stimulus payments to Americans with up to $75,000 in annual income, rejecting an earlier plan under consideration to sharply curtail the benefits.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday that Americans earning $60,000 a year should be eligible for the full amount of direct payments.

That amount is roughly $10,000 more than a figure being discussed by Republicans and conservative Democrats who are pushing for a “targeted” round of payments with income capped at $50,000. 

“If you think about an elementary school teacher or a policeman making $60,000 a year and faced with children who are out of school and people who may have had to withdraw from the labor force in order to take care of them and many extra burdens, the president thinks, and I would certainly agree, that it’s appropriate for people there to get support,” Yellen said.

“President (Joe) Biden is certainly willing to work with members of Congress to define what’s fair and he wouldn’t want to see a household making over $300,000 receive these payments."

Exactly who will be eligible to receive a stimulus payment remains unclear. The president’s initial proposal ensured single people earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 were eligible for a full payments.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, Biden said his administration remains committed to $1,400 stimulus checks as part of its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

“I’m not cutting the size of the checks,” Biden said.

“They’re going to be $1,400 — period. That’s what the American people were promised.”

That amount, when coupled with the $600 payments approved in December, would bring the total of recent relief to $2,000, an amount backed by many in Congress.

If Congress approves the $1.9 trillion plan, the country would get back to full employment next year, Yellen said.

Otherwise, she said, unemployment would linger for years.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have resisted the administration’s COVID-19 relief plan, concerned it would unnecessarily increase the national debt following the $4 trillion in aid Congress passed last year, Reuters reports.

Speaking on the ABC News’ program “This Week,” Republican Senator Roger Wicker said he thought his party would be willing to support something in the $600 billion to $700 billion range.

Biden has said he would like to win bipartisan support for his plan, but that Republicans were falling far short of the mark in terms of what needs to be done. He said Democrats would go it alone if needed.

While payment details continue to be negotiated, the Democrat-controlled Congress is moving ahead with passing Biden’s overall package.

Last week, the House and Senate approved a budget plan that would allow a coronavirus relief bill to clear the Senate with a simple majority vote of 51.

Under normal rules, 60 votes would be needed. The Senate is split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tie-breaking vote for Democrats.

Democrats hope the House will approve the entire bill this month and send it to Biden to sign before mid-March, which is when emergency unemployment benefits are set to expire.

Biden’s massive relief package aims to combat the coronavirus pandemic and help the economy.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 460,000 Americans have died and 10million people have lost their jobs.  

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