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Yellen focuses on $60,000 threshold for stimulus checks

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenDear Yellen: Saving the planet is not the Fed's job Treasury announces COVID-19 relief oversight office Washington Post reporter explains how taxes in Biden infrastructure plan would affect multinational corporations MORE said Sunday that she thought income levels identified by conservative Democratic senators to restrict which Americans receive direct payments under the Biden administration's COVID-19 aid package were too low.

Speaking with CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperArkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' Arkansas governor: Veto on trans youth bill was a 'message of compassion and conservatism' Buttigieg: Lawmakers can call infrastructure package 'whatever they like' but 'it's good policy' MORE on "State of the Union," Yellen indicated that she thought individual Americans earning $60,000 per year ought to be eligible for the direct payments, a higher figure than the one identified by senators such as Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats 'Just say no' just won't work for Senate Republicans MORE (D-W.Va.), who has called for the payments to phase out at the $50,000-per-year income level.

"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, [President Biden] thinks, and I would certainly agree, that it's appropriate for people there to get support," said Yellen.

Yellen went on to add that the White House is negotiating with Congress "to define what's fair" in terms of income level phaseouts for direct payments in a stimulus package, telling Tapper that struggling middle-class families "need help too."

"So, you definitely think higher than $50,000 per individual, but you're not necessarily willing to commit to $75,000, is what I'm hearing?" Tapper asked, referring to the level at which payments were phased out in the package passed in December.

"Yes," the secretary responded. "I think the details can be worked out. And the president is certainly willing to work with Congress to find a good structure for these payments.”

Senate Democrats have indicated that they are prepared to push through Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican support after a group of 10 Republican senators proposed a framework last week that totaled $600 billion, far less than Democrats have demanded.

Democratic leaders such as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 MORE (D-Calif.) have said that they expect the package to pass within two weeks.