There is growing bipartisan backlash against the possibility that Congress would lower the income eligibility for the proposed $ 1,400 Discharge controls, Reduction or elimination of benefits for many middle class households.
As with previous bailouts, President Joe Biden did American rescue plan would begin phasing out cash payments for those earning more than $ 75,000 per year and married couples earning $ 150,000 per year.
But the White House and several Democratic lawmakers did Expressed openness Lower the income threshold for receiving benefits to $ 50,000 per year for an individual and $ 100,000 per year for a couple.
Now a number of lawmakers from both parties have started to roll back the proposal. Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) And David McKinley (RW.Va.) introduced legislation on Friday this would deliver the cash payments to families, phasing them out at the original income thresholds of $ 75,000 for individuals and $ 150,000 for married couples.
“Today’s report on low jobs shows how hard American families are and need immediate help,” McKinley said in a statement. “A third round of individual aid would give millions of American families the help they need.”
“I am proud to team up with Representative McKinley again to make it clear that it should not be a partisan issue to directly exonerate the American people,” said Blunt Rochester in her own statement accompanying the bill.
Both McKinley and Blunt Rochester enjoy a unique influence because of the states they represent. Blunt Rochester, Delaware’s only representative in the house, is a close ally of Biden, a Delaware resident.
And McKinley’s seat in West Virginia means he shares a constituency with Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) whose support Democrats need to get any bill passed. Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, was more skeptical of the price tag and benefits of the Aid Bill for so-called higher earners than McKinley or the Republican government of West Virginia. Jim Justice.
When it comes to aid payments, the political stakes are particularly high for Democrats, who moved two seats in the Georgia Senate in January for promising to help families owned by then Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Had kept cash upstairs. Democrats vowed to increase total aid to these households to $ 2,000 per person by adding another check for $ 1,400 to a payment of $ 600 that Congress proved in December.
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) Warned Biden in an interview with against tinkering with the income thresholds The interception that came out on Friday. “I would guess [Biden]If he should ask me, this is no compromise place. If you want us to lose a Senate race in Georgia in two years, change the promise – break the promise made during the Georgia runoff, ”said Merkley.
Senator Jon Ossoff, one of two Georgia Democrats whose win in January suspended control of the Senate, also stated his preference to leave income thresholds as they are.
“I want this package to be as ambitious as possible. I was sent here to fight for great COVID relief, ”Ossoff told HuffPost. “I was sent here to fight for stimulus checks for families in Georgia. And I don’t want to see a reduction in the help we send to the people. “
Likewise, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (NJ), and Chris Murphy (Conn.) Told HuffPost that they would prefer an exit that begins with those earning $ 75,000 a year and married couples, who earn $ 150,000 a year.
“I’m a state where $ 100,000 doesn’t go as far as a state like Louisiana,” Murphy told HuffPost. “So I’d rather keep the threshold where it is.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) MP, the House’s most famous progressive, joined the fight Friday afternoon when new reports surfaced of a push to introduce stricter means testing.
“Millions are about to be evacuated. Give too little and they are devastated, ”she told her 12 million followers all in one Twitter thread Panning the lower income thresholds. “Give ‘too much’ and a single mother could save up for a rainy day. That’s not hard. “
The complexity of the Congressional debate on cash payments reflects the specificity of the drawdown formula. Currently, for every dollar above the income threshold a person earns, cash payments will decrease by 5% – reducing payments by $ 50 per $ 1,000 above the threshold.
As a result, larger checks go to a larger group of earners than smaller ones. For example, the $ 600 check sent to families in December reached fewer families than the $ 1,200 check sent by Congress in March because it expired faster than the income threshold.
Without changes, checks for $ 1,400 would default to a group of higher earners than the first two rounds of cash relief. The new bill also allows for $ 1,400 for each dependent in a household, so some upper-middle-class households with large numbers of children may also receive benefits they were not previously entitled to.
To address concerns about transferring benefits to families on the upper end of the income spectrum, Biden, Manchin, and even some progressive officials like Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Openly entertained the idea of raising the income threshold for the US to lower exit to US $ 50,000. Even if Congress set the exit threshold for individuals at $ 40,000 a year, a small percentage of households with an annual income of $ 390,000 a year would receive cash payments an analysis from the conservative tax foundation.
But some economists, activists, and now lawmakers fear that the price of excluding more middle-class families – some 10 million of themAccording to the impartial Tax Policy Center, the dangers of sending money to high-income households far outweigh the risks.
“There’s a large chunk of the income distribution that got $ 2,000 from Trump, $ 600 from Trump, and then $ 0 from Biden,” said the University of Utah economist Marshall stone tree warned on twitter.
Critics have also noted that Americans don’t file their tax returns for 2020 before Bill passageThe federal government will evaluate their cash payments based on their 2019 income. Many Americans have experienced sudden falls in income since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March.
These arguments may resonate with Biden, who did so repeatedly stressed his commitment to an ambitious aid law.
“We can’t do too much here,” he said before a meeting with House Democrats on Friday. “We can do too little.”
Kevin Robillard contributed to the coverage.
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This article was originally published HuffPost and has been updated.