AMERICANS who earn more than $50,000 could still be eligible to receive the proposed $1,400 stimulus checks with the income cutoff yet-to-be determined.
The White House has said it is open to negotiation on who should be eligible to receive the coronavirus relief package payments but has declined to specify what the salary cap should be.
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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated last week she aims to have the entire stimulus package, including the direct payments, passed by the end of February.
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.
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