Here’s how deciding who qualifies could change


Stimulus checks printed at the Philadelphia Financial Center in Philadelphia.

Jeff Fusco | fake images

As a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package gathers on Capitol Hill, millions of additional direct payments to Americans could be in the works.

The legislation under discussion includes stimulus checks of $ 1,400 that could bring the total direct payments sent to Americans in recent months to $ 2,000.

The sums of $ 1,400 would go to adults, as well as children and dependent adults.

To qualify, individuals and families must have incomes within certain ranges.

People with adjusted gross income of up to $ 75,000 and married couples of up to $ 150,000 can receive full payments. Those with incomes above that level would see their payments reduced and ultimately phased out by $ 100,000 for individuals and $ 200,000 per couple.

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The thresholds to qualify for the money have been hotly contested between Democrats and Republicans.

Some lawmakers from both parties have complained that the thresholds are too high. A Republican proposal called for limiting payments to $ 50,000 in annual income for individuals and $ 100,000 for couples.

Others, like Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Have opposed lowering the low thresholds.

“Telling a worker in Vermont or California or anywhere else, if you’re making, you know, $ 52,000 a year, you’re too rich to get this help, the full benefit, I think that’s absurd,” Sanders said. said recently.

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee released its bill, which included a removal fee of $ 50 for every $ 1,000 above the total payment thresholds. While that rate is similar to previous verifications, experts say the proposal will help limit how much higher incomes, such as those with multiple children, receive at all.

Now, the question is whether the proposal could be substantially modified as the House advances the measure.

Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Center for Bipartisan Policy and a former Senate staff member, said he does not expect there will be a margin on the Senate Finance Committee.

Also, as lawmakers seek to move the package forward through budget reconciliation, only a few changes can be made.

“The process is very limited as to how to modify a reconciliation bill,” Hoagland said.

Any amendment has to be pertinent or relevant and not alien, he said. The definition of what would qualify as a relevant amendment in the Senate is very restrictive.

“You can change a number,” Hoagland said. “You can hit something.

“But it is very limited,” he added. “Cannot add a new language.”

If, instead, the Senate Finance Committee improves the bill, the bill would go through a more normal legislative process. As a result, more changes could occur, including stricter rules on who qualifies for payments.

“But the current train is moving very fast, and it will be difficult to change what comes out of the House,” Hoagland said.

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