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The next Covid stimulus checks could be smaller than $1,400 and reach fewer people if a new plan put forward by some Republican senators is approved.
That would bring the direct payments to $1,600, including the first payment authorized in December.
Individuals earning up to $40,000 per year would be eligible for the full payments. Those with incomes at that threshold and above would see payments gradually phase out, and eligibility would be capped at $50,000 in annual pay.
For married couples who file taxes jointly, the payments would begin phasing out at $80,000 in income and be capped at $100,000.
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Children and adults who qualify as dependents would be eligible for $500.
Convicted inmates would not be eligible. Right now, prisoners are eligible to receive the $600 checks that are being deployed.
The checks would total an estimated $220 billion, per the Republican plan. Meanwhile, the total package, including additional funding for vaccines, child care, enhanced unemployment insurance and nutrition benefits, would cost an estimated $618 billion.
In contrast, Biden’s plan that calls for $1,400 checks per person would cost an estimated $465 billion for the direct payments, or $1.9 trillion total.
The Republican proposal is likely a “beginning package for negotiations,” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former Senate staff member.
“There’s no way that Democrats would agree to [$618] billion, and I think they will feel it’s not sufficient,” Hoagland said.
While the package could lose backing from some Democrats, the compromise could potentially pick up support from some Republicans.
The new White House administration faces a “difficult balance right now,” according to Hoagland.
“This is going to be a huge task for President Biden, who I think in his heart likes to do things in a bipartisan way,” Hoagland said.
Much will depend on the outcome of a meeting between Biden and Republicans scheduled for 5 p.m. at the White House on Monday.
If you had an agreement for an emergency supplemental … you can get it done a lot quicker, given the crisis that we have right now.
senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center
The Senate is slated to proceed on Tuesday with a budget resolution that could lead to a reconciliation bill, which would just require a simple majority in order to go through. But that process will take time, Hoagland noted.
How soon the money reaches Americans will depend on how long the negotiations between the two parties take. An emergency supplemental package could be easier to pass, Hoagland said.
“If you had an agreement for an emergency supplemental … you can get it done a lot quicker, given the crisis that we have right now,” Hoagland said.