House Dems’ COVID-19 aid bill includes $1,400 checks

Greg Nash

House Democrats on Monday released key portions of their coronavirus relief package, including a section that would provide $1,400 checks to most Americans.

As with previous rounds of direct payments, single taxpayers with annual income up to $75,000 and married couples that make up to $150,000 would qualify for the full payment amounts.

However, the payment amounts above those thresholds would phase out at a faster rate than the payments from the first two rounds. Single filers with income above $100,000 and married couples with income above $200,000 would not be eligible for any payments.

The release of bill text came after policymakers and economists debated what the income eligibility requirements should be for the payments.

Republicans and some centrist Democrats argued that the payments should be more targeted to lower-income households because those households are most in need of relief and most likely to spend the money quickly. 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.

Eligible households would be able to receive payments of up to $1,400 per person, including for adult dependents, who were left out of the previous rounds. The bill directs the Treasury Department to issue payments to people based on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns, and it allows the department to make payments to non-filers based on information available to it.

The direct payments are one of many portions of the package released by the House Ways and Means Committee. The package is based off a $1.9 trillion plan that President Biden proposed in January.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the new round of checks would cost $422 billion.

The legislation would also extend federal unemployment programs, which are currently set to expire in March, through the end of August and increase the federal boost to unemployment benefits from $300 per week to $400 per week. Biden had proposed extending the programs through September.

Additionally, the package includes a one-year expansion of the child tax credit, making the credit fully refundable and increasing the credit amount to $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 for other children. It directs Treasury to issue advance payments of the credit, ideally on a monthly basis, starting in July. The package also includes one-year expansions of the earned income tax credit and the child and dependent care tax credit.

The Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to consider its portions of the relief package starting Wednesday, which Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass) called “a crucial step to confront this challenge and show the country that help is on the way.”

“From increasing direct assistance to those who need it most to expanding tax credits for low- and middle-income workers, we deliver substantial solutions in this package,” Neal said in a statement.

Updated at 7:05 p.m.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus aid coronavirus pandemic coronavirus relief coronavirus stimulus COVID-19 Joe Biden Richard Neal
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