On The Money: Biden commits to $1,400 checks, but open to eligibility limits | House approves budget resolution for COVID-19 package | McConnell seeks to inflict political pain on budget votes

On The Money: Biden commits to $1,400 checks, but open to eligibility limits | House approves budget resolution for COVID-19 package | McConnell seeks to inflict political pain on budget votes
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THE BIG DEAL—Biden commits to $1,400 checks, but open to eligibility limits: President Biden said during a call with House Democrats on Wednesday that he is committed to boosting stimulus checks to $2,000 by giving most Americans another $1,400 in direct payments in a new round of coronavirus relief.

However, Biden did crack the door open to tightening income restrictions on which Americans are eligible to receive the checks. 

“We can’t walk away from an additional $1,400 in direct checks that we proposed because the people need them,” Biden told Democrats, according to a source on the call.

“We can better target them,” he said, “but I’m not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people.”

What it means: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police Israel gets tough with Iran as Biden signals shift from Trump Shocking killing renews tensions over police MORE clarified later Wednesday that Biden is open to further limiting the income level of who receives a stimulus check, not the total amount of the check.

“Further targeting means not the size of the check, it means the income level of people who receive the check and that’s something that has been under discussion. There hasn’t been a conclusion but certainly he’s open to having that discussion,” Psaki told reporters at an afternoon briefing.  


The Hill’s Scott Wong has more here.

Biden calls for going big, unity: Biden also called on Democrats to go big and stick together as they sell his nearly $2 trillion stimulus plan to the American people, and he made clear that shifting toward the $618 billion plan offered by 10 GOP senators was “not in the cards.”

"I'll have your back. I ask that you have mine,” Biden said.

Biden also emphasized Democrats marching together on aid during a later conversation at the White House with top Democratic Senators.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTop academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act NY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing 'to balance the conservative majority' The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said Democrats are “united” about going big on coronavirus relief after the summit.

"There's agreement, universal agreement. We must go big and bold,” Schumer told reporters.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney has more on the White House meeting here, and we’ve got more on the stimulus push below.


House approves budget resolution for COVID-19 package: The House on Wednesday approved a budget resolution in a 218-212 vote that would allow Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill without Republican support.

  • Two Democrats voted against the measure in the otherwise party-line vote.
  • The Senate will also have to pass a budget resolution, and then both chambers would need to approve a budget reconciliation package that would include the COVID-19 relief deal.
  • Using the rules prevents Republicans in the Senate from filibustering the package, and will mean Democrats will not have to offer concessions to move the deal.

“There will be plenty of opportunities for my colleagues across the aisle to engage in this process and offer amendments. But we cannot afford to slow down our response to these urgent crises while Republicans decide if they want to help or not,” said House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDemocrats see political winner in tax fight McConnell knocks Kentucky Democrat over support for nixing filibuster Democrats vow to go 'bold' — with or without GOP MORE (D-Ky.). The Hill’s Niv Elis has more here.

McConnell seeks to inflict political pain on budget votes: While Republicans may not sign onto the Democratic relief bill, they’ve pledged to make the process politically taxing for their opposition.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Senate GOP opens door to earmarks McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday announced that Republicans will force Democrats to take tough votes on issues ranging from stimulus checks for illegal immigrants to higher taxes on small businesses when the Senate moves a budget resolution this week.


How it works: 

  • Senate Republicans will have an opportunity to offer an unlimited number of non-binding amendments to the resolution Democrats plan to vote on later this week — as long as the amendments are relevant to the budget.
  • Leaders in both parties have often skipped the arduous process of passing budget resolutions in recent years because they want to avoid exposing their members to tough votes during these so-called vote-a-rama sessions.

“We’ll be getting senators on the record about whether taxpayers should fund checks for illegal immigrants … whether Democrats should raise taxes on small businesses in the midst of this historic crisis … and whether generous federal funding should pour into school districts where the unions refuse to let schools open,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

“This is just a small taste,” he added.

Alexander Bolton gives us a preview here.