Biden backs House Democrats’ proposed threshold for COVID-19 checks
President Biden said Tuesday he agrees with a proposal from House Democrats to begin phasing out the next round of direct coronavirus relief payments to Americans who make more than $75,000, a key sticking point among some in the party.
Biden signaled his support for the threshold during a meeting with the heads of several major corporations in the Oval Office. He hosted the business leaders to solicit buy-in on his $1.9 trillion relief proposal as well as to discuss future economic measures such as an infrastructure package and an increase to the minimum wage.
“I’m anxious to hear what these business leaders have to say about what they think about how we’re approaching this issue and to see if we can find some common ground,” Biden said.
Among those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting were JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal.
Biden was joined in the Oval Office by Vice President Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
The meeting comes as the White House and congressional Democrats work to push through Biden’s economic relief package, which would send direct payments to millions of Americans, provide funding for schools as well as state and local governments, and boost money for vaccine distribution.
House Democrats on Monday night released key portions of their coronavirus relief bill. The proposal called for direct payments of $1,400 to single taxpayers with annual income up to $75,000 and married couples that make up to $150,000.
The payments would quickly phase out above those income thresholds, and single filers with income above $100,000 and married couples with income above $200,000 would not be eligible for any payments.
Where to cut off the direct payments has been a point of contention among some moderate Democrats who worried that the stimulus checks were not targeted enough and suggested the payments should phase out sooner.
But progressives argued that the income requirements shouldn’t be tightened so people who lost substantial amounts of income during the pandemic could quickly receive their payments.