GOP counterproposal: lower stimulus check amount and income threshold

Since the new year, we’ve almost heard exclusively about what Democrats are planning for the next stimulus bill.

We know that they have a $1.9 trillion proposal that contains many benefits including things like $1,400 stimulus checks, a raise of the federal minimum wage to $15, and many other benefits.

We’ve heard that this bill is possibly a starting point for negotiations but we have not heard any firm numbers from Republicans on what they might be willing to agree to.

That is until today.

10 Senate Republicans, led by Susan Collins of Maine, just proposed a counterproposal which includes an almost $600 billion package.

They said that they would release the full details of the package tomorrow but we already have a preliminary idea of some of the big details.

One of the most contentious issues will certainly be the changes that they want to make to stimulus checks.

First, they want to decrease the size of the new round of checks from $1,400 to $1,000.

They also want to adjust the income threshold for the payments. The income threshold would be lowered to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for couples.

This will definitely be a controversial move but Biden already indicated he is open to negotiating these limits so it is not out of the realm of possibility that these could change.

Another big change is that the GOP reportedly wants to keep the unemployment benefits at $300 per week instead of raising them to $400 and they only want them extended through June, not September.

Republican senators have also called out Biden for not reaching out across the aisle during the formation of their proposal.

“You don’t want bipartisanship. You want the patina of bipartisanship. … The president’s team did not reach out to anybody in our group, either Democrat or Republican, when they fashioned their proposal,” Cassidy said.

“They’ve never reached out to us — that’s the beginning of the bad faith.”

It will be very interesting to see how Democrats respond to this counter proposal once the full details are released on Monday.

There’s been significant talk about Democrats pursuing the budget reconciliation route which would effectively nullify the votes from the GOP on stimulus relief.

At the same time, if Democrats are super open to these negotiations and decide to go along with reduced stimulus checks, they are going to face significant backlash because they campaigned hard on that issue for the Georgia elections.

“The entire Democratic Party came together behind the candidates in Georgia — we made promises to the American people,” Bernie Sanders said.

“If politics means anything — if you’re going to have any degree of credibility — you can’t campaign on a series of issues … and then change your mind. That’s not how it works. We made promises to the American people; we’re going to keep those promises.”

Next week should be an interesting one.



Third stimulus check update: Democrats’ strategy becoming clear

$2,000 monthly checks getting another push

Income limits coming for the $1,400 checks?

Third stimulus check update: Democrats’ strategy becoming clear

1/31/21 Update:

It’s possible that next week could be the week that we see some action on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan that includes $1,400 stimulus checks.

“We have learned from past crises that the risk is not doing too much,” Biden said. “The risk is not doing enough.”

While Democrats want to move quickly, they are still getting met with resistance from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle.

“Too much of the money is not directly going to the people who need it the most,” Sen. Roger Marshall said.

Marshall’s issue, like many Republicans, is with the $1,400 stimulus checks, minimum wage increase, and the billions of funds allocated for local and state governments.

Biden has already indicated that he is open to negotiating eligibility requirements for the stimulus checks, including making them more targeted for lower income Americans.

There is new data that backs up this targeted approach by showing that families making more than $75,000 don’t actually need the funds and are putting the cash into savings.

Meanwhile, those making under $75,000 are likely to spend the money and stimulate the economy.

But in order for that targeted approach to come into fruition, there would have to be negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.

Thus far, key Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi don’t seem to be showing a desire to get into another protracted negotiation battle.

In fact, they have already begun to draft the budget reconciliation bill that would essentially bypass the needed votes from the GOP.

I’m sure the experience of going back-and-forth for months and months during the fall and summer took a toll on many Democrats (as it did on all of us).

Now that they have a way to pass these measures without bipartisan negotiations, I’m sure it is very tempting to go that route.

It seems like Democrats will attempt to work with Republicans but their patience is going to be very limited if I had to guess.

Right now, experts are predicting that February could be the earliest we would see a package approved and some even speculate that it could be mid-March.

A standalone provision containing stimulus checks could pass before the larger more comprehensive package is passed, but according to some statements from Democrats, it doesn’t seem like they are interested in a piecemeal solution.

“We’re not going to do this in a piecemeal way or break apart a big package that’s meant to address the crisis we’re facing,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

There are also the Trump impeachment proceedings that are expected to start in the next few weeks. If the stimulus deal is not ironed out before those proceedings begin, there’s a chance that things could be pushed well into March.

Someone lawmakers insist that the impeachment proceedings will not be a distraction to focusing on coronavirus relief but if the Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings are any indication, I don’t think that’s true.

So ultimately it looks like next week will be a pretty important week and give us a strong indication of the route Democrats plan on taking. If I had to guess they will attempt negotiations but quickly go to budget reconciliation routes if they get met with too much resistance.



1/29/21 Update:

Yesterday, Democrats rejected a Republican proposal to break up the $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue plan into smaller pieces.

This is a pretty huge move that I believe is very telling regarding the Democrats’ strategy.

There’s been a lot of talk about “pruning” the current $1.9 trillion proposal and going with more targeted aid for items such as stimulus checks.

While we have not seen concrete figures proposed, many experts have predicted that the actual size of this proposal would be closer to $1 trillion (which seems in line with prior discussions).

Indeed, Biden has been pretty vocal about his interest in negotiating and his openness to things like income limits for stimulus checks.

There also has been talk about breaking up the items in the stimulus package so that some of the most important components like the vaccine distribution can be passed immediately.

But by rejecting this pitch to divide up the stimulus bill up, Democrats are sending a strong message that they might aggressively pursue the passage of this large stimulus bill by any means necessary.

That would of course include the budget reconciliation method which would only require 51 votes in the Senate to pass.

So it is no surprise that, in a bit of a power move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are reportedly already drafting the reconciliation bill.

Senate GOP members are reportedly warning Democrats that they are making a big mistake by loading up this bill and trying to pass it without their support.

If Democrats do choose to go the reconciliation route, it feels like it would be a step back from the unity approach that the Biden administration has been harping on.

I don’t think we know for sure that Democrats will take this route based on other reports that indicate President Biden is having good conversations with Republican members of the Senate like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is leading the bipartisan effort.

“We both expressed our shared belief that it is possible for the Senate to work in a bipartisan way to get things done for the people of this country,” she said.

It’s worth noting that White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that although Biden wants a bipartisan package, the Biden administration is opposed to breaking up the bill to win over Republican support.

“We’re not going to do this in a piecemeal way or break apart a big package that’s meant to address the crisis we’re facing.”

So it’s looking like the Democrat approach is to try to negotiate a little bit but if negotiations do not play out just like they planned, they will resort to the reconciliation method to ensure the passage of their bill.

It’s a sure fire way to get things passed but going this route will likely come at a cost that we will see play out over time.




For those wondering when to expect the next round of stimulus relief to arrive, we are getting some more intel to answer that question.

Goldman Sachs analyst Alec Phillps projected that Congress will pass another round of stimulus relief between mid-February and mid-March.

So at a minimum we are likely looking at a one month negotiating process.

The IRS is now capable of getting payments out in about one week so in this scenario we could see the third round of stimulus checks start to go out anywhere from late February to late March.

Phillips also weighed in on whether or not 10 members of the GOP would get on board with this current proposal. The number 10 is very significant because that will put 60 senators in support of the stimulus bill so long as all Democrats are on board (which by the way is not a given).

“We do not expect 10 Republicans to support a $1.9 trillion relief package,” Phillips wrote.

That’s not a shocker considering how things have gone over the last few months with Republicans.

The big question will be how high will 10 Republicans be willing to go to agree to a stimulus package?

And will that number allow for large stimulus checks?

Experts are currently predicting that the legislation would end up costing about $1.1 trillion which would be enough to include $1,400 stimulus checks so I still like the odds of these checks going out.

The other issue to be on the lookout for is the effect of the impeachment

Reportedly, the Trump impeachment trial is set to start the week of February 8.

So ideally, negotiations for the next stimulus package would be resolved prior to that impeachment trial.

But if that does not occur then we could see the impeachment proceedings potentially interfere with finalizing a stimulus deal which would obviously be extremely unfortunate.



Now that Joe Biden has been sworn in as the US president, the attention will shift to his first actions in office.

There are a series of executive orders that he has already begun to work on but one of the biggest issues is the next stimulus package.

In particular, the third round of stimulus checks is going to be a major topic of discussion.

So where do things currently stand and when can you expect to receive that third stimulus check?

We know that the Biden proposal contains a third stimulus check in an amount of $1,400.

While there was some confusion about a $2,000 stimulus check, it seems that Democrats preferred to issue out a $1,400 check that together with the $600 check (already issued) comes out to $2,000.

If you were counting on seeing those additional funds, you may want to cut back your excitement for the moment.

It is still not a given that these $1,400 checks will be passed.

Many lawmakers are not on board with more stimulus checks and some like Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said Biden’s plan “would be a colossal waste and economically harmful.”

There are also a lot of lawmakers talking more about a targeted approach when it comes to distributing funds to Americans.

Remember, most likely at least 10 Republicans will need to support the relief package in order for it to pass.

You definitely cannot take it for granted that 10 Republicans will support a $1.9 trillion package or even additional $1,400 checks.

You also can’t take for granted that every Democrat will get on board with the stimulus proposal so it’s possible that even more Republicans will need to support such a measure.

We should also remember that the $1.9 trillion package as a starting point.

Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki stated, “The package was designed with the $1.9 trillion as a starting point. This is a discussion, it’s a conversation, and [Joe Biden] is no stranger to the process of bill making … Rarely does it look exactly like the initial package that is proposed.”

It’s very possible that we might start to hear more about specific targeting measures that would limit who can receive a third stimulus check.

Of course, there was also talk about doing that with the second round and that never materialized.

Some people have predicted that a third round of stimulus checks could go out in February or perhaps early March but it’s possible that another protracted battle could ensue in Congress.

If that does happen, I’m hoping that lawmakers will break up the proposal so that certain measures like aid for a vaccine distribution can go out ASAP.

Based on reports I’ve seen, that might be a possibility.

A standalone bill for stimulus checks is not off the table either.

While we don’t know what will happen, we know that the stimulus bill is at the top of the priority list for Democrats so we can expect to start hearing details about the progress of that bill very soon.



New stimulus relief could be much higher for low income Americans

$1,400 stimulus checks update: calculate your payment

Big week for stimulus relief, $1,400 checks

$2,000 monthly checks getting another push

Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and more than 50 other House members, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, are urging the Biden administration to once again consider recurring monthly checks. 

“One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis,” they wrote.

“Many families cannot afford to wait for eight months between payments. To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief — they cannot be at the mercy of congressional gridlock.”

This might seem like a completely far-fetched attempt but last year current Vice President Kamala Harris introduced a bill in the Senate that would have sent $2,000 a month payments until the pandemic ended.

So it is not like this idea is foreign to the leaders in the White House.

The data shows that many Americans are still struggling to get by.

For example, an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that one-third of adults are struggling to pay their bills. Those in the service industries such as restaurants and retail, have been hit the hardest.

And while unemployment has improved since the outbreak of the pandemic it is still a significant issue for those in the bottom quartile.

“We know there is still an enormous amount of economic suffering going on in our country,” said said Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton and President Obama.

“The top quartile might see unemployment around 5%, but for the bottom quartile, it’s over 20%.” These are depression-level rates.

The letter sent to the White House did not specify an amount for the recurring stimulus payments but Rep. Omar tweeted that she would prefer payments of $2,000/month.

 It still does not appear that there is enough support for these recurring stimulus checks to gain traction. If anything, the trend right now appears to be curbing and tailoring the aid to a smaller package.

It’s worth noting though that Democrats are already drafting a bill that would pass stimulus relief through the budget reconciliation route which would not require any Republicans to get on board.

Passing a $1.9 trillion bill that route would upset many Republicans and likely cause a good deal of division.

But passing something like recurring two thousand dollar monthly stimulus checks would be a pretty outrageous move that I don’t think Democrats would be interested in.

So while this sporadic push for recurring payments continues to appear, the traction and momentum required to pass an initiative of this magnitude remains to be found.


Original article:

Ever since the pandemic broke out and the talks for stimulus relief began, there have been some lawmakers who would prefer to send out monthly stimulus checks until the economy gets back on its feet.

Last May, Bernie Sanders and now Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced a bill that would provide $2,000 a month to Americans.

These payments would go out to those earning under $120,000 and they would be issued every month during the pandemic and for three months after.

(Based on the vaccine distribution projections, the pandemic would probably “end” for all intents and purposes sometime in the late summer or early fall.)

The talk about these recurring payments always seemed to generate a lot of excitement but then would quickly dissipate as talks about the budget grew more serious.

This was especially true when Republicans were in control.

But now, these talks are re-surfacing.

“The $1,400 in direct cash assistance is a down payment that will help families make rent, put food on the table, and pay the utility bills after Senate Republicans blocked that additional funding back in December,” Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said.

“But we must still pass my legislation with Senator Bernie Sanders [of Vermont] to provide $2,000 monthly payments to working people through the duration of the pandemic.”

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the majority of Americans would support recurring $2,000 monthly payments. 65% of poll respondents indicated that they would support them, with 41% offering strong support.

“I want recurring $2,000 survival checks in the hands of the American people. So do 65 percent of Americans. We can and we must get this done,” Markey tweeted.

So could the support of most Americans be enough to get traction for recurring payments?

It’s not as crazy of a question as it would’ve been last summer when Republicans controlled the Senate.

But I still don’t think recurring checks are feasible, and that’s just because they are so expensive.

Most likely, at least 10 Republicans in the Senate will need to get on board with the stimulus proposal and getting them to agree to such an outrageously high expenditure seems extremely unlikely.

Heck, even getting unanimous consent from Democrats on that issue might be problematic since some have voiced opposition to additional checks.

The only scenario where I could see recurring checks going out is if we saw an extremely targeted measure implemented.

And while there has been talk about extremely targeted stimulus check measures, that just doesn’t seem to be something that lawmakers are super interested in pursuing.

So if you hear more about these recurring checks in the coming weeks, I would not be too optimistic about the odds of them passing.



Stimulus check backlash over $2,000 checks

Details of new $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal revealed

Stimulus check eligibility might be expanded (big time)

Income limits coming for the $1,400 checks?


As we await to hear news regarding the third round of stimulus checks, it seems like talk about a targeted approach is really heating up.

Many lawmakers question how effective sending out stimulus checks is, especially to those people who have higher incomes.

They worry about wasting resources and so there has been a new push to limit the eligibility for the stimulus checks to lower income brackets.

And it seems like this approach is getting backed up by data.

According to a study from the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, a nonprofit research group led by Harvard economics professor Raj Chetty, Household earning more than $78,000 have largely saved their $600 check (second stimulus check).

Moreover, it doesn’t look like the pandemic is still affecting many of those with these higher incomes.

“We see this massive discrepancy,” said Michael Stepner, an economist with Opportunity Insights.

“Since the middle of June, the recession in jobs for higher income households is over — employment has been just like it was before the pandemic.”

This is largely because a lot of these higher income occupations can be done remotely, often just as effectively as in person. But jobs for lower income Americans are still down about 20% compared to where they were before the pandemic.

“Those are millions of jobs that are lost, and millions at the bottom of the income distribution are still out of work,” Stepner said. 

Findings like these will be crucial in determining the steps that Congress takes with the third round of stimulus checks.

There are a lot of different routes they could take with a targeted approach.

On one end, they could have a hard cut off at somewhere around $80,000 so that if you are in above that you don’t receive anything. Or, they could just phase out the payments more aggressively.

There’s also the possibility of them going with a much lower income threshold such as somewhere around $40,000 to $50,000. Those figures have been discussed before so I would not be surprised to see lawmakers entertain them once again.

Either way, Biden has already announced that he is open to a more targeted approach and with many lawmakers voicing that too, I think we will likely see it happen.

The main issue is that lawmakers want to move very quickly and there is already talk about having votes as soon as next week. Putting together a thorough and effective targeted plan in a short amount of time could be a real challenge.



One of the biggest complaints that we have heard from both Republicans and Democrats regarding the next round of stimulus checks is that they believe the relief is simply too broad.

Too many Americans are receiving stimulus checks that don’t truly need them.

Because of that many lawmakers would much rather prefer a targeted approach that helps out the people who are in need the most.

One of the most practical ways that this could be accomplished is with tighter income limits on the stimulus checks.

Up to this point, we have not heard a lot of discussion about income limits except for Republicans who were on board for it over the summer.

But, it looks like President Biden is now open to negotiating income limits for the next round of stimulus payments.

The current income limits allow for the full payment for individual incomes of up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes of up to $150,000.

But it’s not clear where these new income limits would cut off.

“There’s legitimate reason for people to say, ‘Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way. Should it go to anybody making over x number of dollars or y,” Biden said.

“I’m open to negotiate those things.”

While income limits definitely makes sense when approaching a targeted relief measures, there will be considerable backlash if tighter limits are imposed, especially if they are drastically under the current limits.

There was a lot of talk from Democrats, including Biden, about passing “$2,000 stimulus checks” at the time of the all important Georgia runoff elections.

Many people felt like it was a bit of false advertising when it was revealed that the stimulus checks would actually be $1,400 since they had been presented as if $2,000 checks would go out in addition to the $600 checks that already been issued.

If lawmakers decide to further cut back I think that backlash is going to be amplified by a large degree and probably justifiably so.

Not only will people feel duped but there are some complications with income limits because they don’t fully account for things like cost-of-living.

So we’ll have to see how this new development plays out.



Original article:

A lot of people got excited when Biden announced his plan for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package.

The package contained a wide variety of benefits, including $1,400 stimulus payments.

What made this proposal more exciting than prior proposals is that Democrats have the majority in the Senate now so the prospects of passing such a bill are more likely.

But there still is some worry that the talks for this new bill could last for weeks or potentially even months, especially with an impeachment trial coming in the near future.

However, it looks like lawmakers are trying to streamline the process to pass more stimulus checks.

According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House is fast tracking Biden’s proposal and House committees are expected to vote on it this week.

It will reportedly be “completely ready” to pass the following week.

That is very encouraging news but the ultimate decision that really matters is what happens in the Senate because we have seen multiple bills passed in the House only to be killed in the Senate.

It doesn’t seem like experts believe that 60 votes are possible for the $1.9 trillion proposal.

Instead, there will likely have to be concessions in order to get that bill to pass.

That could mean dropping items like the federal minimum wage increase or simply trying to pass measures through a standalone bill such as a bill that only contains $1,400 stimulus checks.

It’s very possible that we might see the support for a vaccine distribution lumped in together with the direct payments as standalone bills.

If that happens, lawmakers might shift their attention to the impeachment after passing those measures and then return to coronavirus relief once the impeachment proceedings are finished.

If Democrats don’t feel like they can get the votes they need they might resort to an alternative path that allows them to pass legislation with only a simple majority of 51 votes.

There has not been a lot of talk of Democrats going that route but it could certainly be a possibility if they hit a roadblock with some of these key relief measures.

So I expect for the House to make some moves this week and for them to likely pass a relief bill next week but the real discussions likely won’t take place until the bill finds itself in the Senate.

And the best prospect for a short negotiation process, in my opinion, would likely be for the stimulus checks to arrive in a standalone bill or lumped in with crucial aid like vaccine distribution.



How stimulus checks may get passed (even with no Republican support)

Third stimulus check update: When to expect the next bill

Biden signs executive orders for stimulus checks and minimum wage

Huge move by Democrats may happen to pass stimulus bill

1/27/20 Update:

So far, the message from lawmakers is that they want to move swiftly with passing the next round of relief.

We already heard that the House was planning on getting things done in the next week or two which while encouraging was not a huge surprise given that they are fully expected to pass a large relief bill.

But what is surprising is that “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage.”

“The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must,” Schumer said.

“Time is of the essence to address this crisis. We’re keeping all options open on the table.”

This is a huge development because it could mean an expedited passage of stimulus checks and other relief measures.

But it could be problematic.

Biden has been promising a focus on unity and it does not seem like going the budget reconciliation route is a method that would strengthen the unity between lawmakers.

If you don’t know, the budget reconciliation method requires only 51 votes in favor versus the traditional process that requires 60 votes.

Using that method feels more like a workaround which could potentially divide the parties even more than they already are.

At the same time, Republicans have used procedural tools to advance certain items such as the Trump administration’s GOP tax cuts.

While the push for the budget reconciliation route is happening, there are also talks happening with the White House and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 50 House lawmakers.

Reportedly, these talks have been productive so there is still the possibility that lawmakers in the Senate may take the traditional path to getting a package passed.

“[Biden] laid out his big package, his big vision of what it should look like, and people are giving their feedback,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“He’s happy to have those discussions and fully expects it’s not going to look exactly the same on the other end.”

The focus on these negotiations is largely on tailoring some of the measures such as stimulus checks so that they do not go out to people who do not need them.

But there is a true sense of urgency coming out of the White House and Congress and it seems like lawmakers want to avoid the protracted battle that we saw through the summer and fall of 2020.

So we will have to see how this clash between providing urgent aid and cutting back on benefits to make them more targeted plays out.

But it is absolutely huge that the Senate is actively talking about quickly pursuing the budget reconciliation route because that is the most aggressive way they can ensure passage of their agenda.

And if they choose to go that route, it is not going to sit very well with Republicans.



It looks like we’re starting to see the preliminary stances on stimulus negotiations take form.

First, we already got a commitment that the House intends on passing the next stimulus bill within the next couple of weeks.

As soon as next week, we might see the full text of the bill and it could potentially even get put to a vote (although that seems a little quick).

Getting a stimulus bill passed through the House is encouraging but it is not the ultimate test for the next package.

The major question is what will happen when it gets to the Senate?

There is serious doubt that a $1.9 trillion package, as currently structured, could garner enough support from Republicans to pass the Senate.

But there are some indicators that negotiations might happen quickly this round and in a way that allows a bill to pass with less resistance.

First, Biden is already hinting at possibly restricting the third round of stimulus checks to a tighter income requirement.

Yesterday, he stated:

“For example, you know I proposed that we — because it was bipartisan, I thought it would increase the prospects of passage — the additional $1,400 in direct cash payment to folks.”

“Well, there’s legitimate reason for people to say, ‘Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way? Should it go to anybody making over X-number of dollars or why?’  I’m open to negotiate those things.”

This type of targeted approach is what Republicans had been talking about over the summer and it is an approach that would likely allow them to get on board much quicker.

What exactly those income thresholds would be, nobody really knows.

But it does seem like new parameters may be necessary given that some key moderate Republicans, who were part of the bipartisan group that drafted the last stimulus bill, are against this Bien proposal because it is not targeted enough.

So those signs seem like Democrats will be likely to concede on the targeted approach but they have not ruled out the alternative method of passing stimulus legislation via the reconciliation route.

This is a route that would only require 51 votes in the Senate to pass a bill which is something Democrats can do since they have 50 members in the Senate along with the tie-breaking vote from the vice president.

“The decision to use reconciliation will depend upon how these negotiations go,” Biden said.

“I don’t expect we’ll know whether we have an agreement or to what extent the entire package will be able to pass or not pass until we get right down to the very end of this process, which will be probably in a couple of weeks.”

So it sounds like we will just have to wait for these talks to shape up over the next couple of weeks and then we might have a better indication of what type of targeted stimulus checks will be proposed and whether or not Democrats will take a more aggressive path to getting their proposal passed.



Income limits coming for the $1,400 checks?

How stimulus checks may get passed (even with no Republican support)

Third stimulus check update: When to expect the next bill

How stimulus checks may get passed (even with no Republican support)

After the 2020 elections, Democrats gained control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.

In the Senate, things came down to a runoff in Georgia and Democrats swept both seats.

This allowed Democrats to create a 50-50 split within the Senate and the Constitution provides that the vice president will be the tiebreaker in those situations.

Since Vice President Kamala Harris is a Democrat, this put the majority for the Democrats by a margin of a single vote.

This shift in power was a very exciting change for people hoping to receive the maximum stimulus relief benefits because Democrats have always been pushing for much larger relief bills than Republicans.

But that excitement was a little bit limited when people discovered that typically for a bill like a stimulus provision to get passed, 60 votes would be needed in the Senate.

This means that even if every Democrat in the Senate is on board with the stimulus package (which is not a guarantee), at least 10 Republican senators would need to get on board.

The latest proposal is valued at about $1.9 trillion which is way over the budget that Republicans had so even getting 10 Republicans on board could prove to be extremely difficult if not impossible.

This means that the stimulus package will likely have to come in a lot smaller, perhaps at around $1.1 trillion.

But there is also another way that the Senate could pass a large bill.

They could resort to something known as a budget reconciliation which is a way that lawmakers can pass a bill with a simple majority requiring only 51 votes.

Only policies that change spending or revenues can be included in this type of special process and only certain kinds of amendments can be offered.

I’m not exactly sure on all of the specifics but apparently stimulus relief, or more specifically stimulus checks, would qualify for this route to be taken.

Biden reportedly is not super interested in this route but his press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters on Wednesday that “we are not going to take any tools off the table.”

Personally, I think it is more likely that we will see a standalone stimulus bill or a smaller stimulus bill containing stimulus checks that gets voted on separately.

But for those worried about the lack of votes needed to pass a large bill, this budget reconciliation method could prove to be a way to get aid out, even if zero Republicans get on board with the new bill.

And even if Democrats don’t resort to budget reconciliation, if Republicans know Democrats will inevitably pursue this route, they may be more likely to simply support stimulus checks, especially given how popular the checks are to voters.


Third stimulus check update: When to expect the next bill

Biden signs executive orders for stimulus checks and minimum wage

New stimulus relief could be much higher for low income Americans

Biden signs executive orders for stimulus checks and minimum wage

President Biden has assigned a number of executive orders since taking office earlier this week. And today he is scheduled to issue a few more executive orders, including one related to stimulus checks.

The most notable executive order taking place today is probably the request to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

These benefits, which are commonly referred to as food stamps, would be increased by 15%.

There already was an increase of the maximum benefit by 15% but it did not help the 40% of recipients who were already at the maximum benefit.

This new executive order would tell the USDA to “consider issuing new guidance that would allow states to increase SNAP emergency allotments for those who need it most,” according to the White House.

This would result in an additional 12 million people receiving enhanced food stamp benefits.

The next executive order relates to stimulus checks.

This would reportedly streamline the delivery of stimulus checks for those eligible recipients who have not received their check yet.

Presumably, this would also help expedite the third round of stimulus checks if and when those are approved.

The president lacks the spending power to authorize an additional round of stimulus checks (at least according to most experts) so while this executive order will help deliver the checks it will not authorize an additional round.

That is a job reserved for Congress and we currently don’t know what this Democrat-controlled Congress is capable of approving.

We know that Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief plan but that relief plan is also a bit of a starting point for negotiations.

It’s very possible that the package could get knocked down substantially in order to get the small number of Republican senators on board to pass it.

That could mean reducing the eligibility and the amount for the next round of stimulus checks although we have not heard a whole lot about the prospects of the next round of stimulus checks in terms of what would be acceptable to Republicans.

But we should learn more as the next week unfolds.

The final executive order will be to improve the collective bargaining power and protections for federal workers.

It will also direct the Office of Personnel Management to develop recommendations to increase the minimum wage for federal employees to $15 per hour.



Third stimulus check update

New stimulus relief could be much higher for low income Americans

$1,400 stimulus checks update: calculate your payment


New stimulus relief could be much higher for low income Americans

President-elect Joe Biden is currently being sworn in as the next president of the United States of America.

His team is currently proposing a $1.9 trillion package known as the “American Rescue Plan.”

The proposal contains a lot of different measures that could help boost the economy and help millions of struggling Americans.

One of the most popular items of this package are the new stimulus checks, which are expected to amount to $1,400.

Just those checks alone could amount to over 22% of the income for houses making around $18,000, which is quite a substantial boost.

But the payouts for many low-income Americans could be a lot more when you factor in the potential tax credits.

First, there is the child tax credit.

These tax credits would offer $2,000 for a qualifying child dependent below age 17 and up to $1,400 can be lumped into an individual’s income tax refund.

The credit should be completely refundable and the payout would apparently increase to $3,600 for kids under the age of six and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17.

Once again, that is a massive benefit, especially for those in the lowest income brackets.

Then there is also the earned income tax credit for 2021.

The payout for this credit would almost triple to close to $1,500 for childless workers and would also bring the credit income limit up to $21,000 which is a $5,000 increase.

When these credits are combined with the new incoming stimulus payments, some lower income families and households will benefit tremendously.

For example, for the bottom 60% of incomes, they would average an award of $3,520. That would equal around 11% of annual income according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

For the lowest income households, which would be people averaging around $11,000 a year in income, they could receive a combined $3,650 pay out. That would amount to approximately 1/3 of their annual income.

So as tax season approaches this year, it is going to be vital that you take advantage of all of the tax credits available to you for maximum benefit.

We still don’t know for sure how this new stimulus plan will play out and what features will actually become law but I would keep a close eye on all of these credits if any of them might apply to you.



$1,400 stimulus checks update: calculate your payment

Big week for stimulus relief, $1,400 checks

$2,000 monthly checks getting another push

$1,400 stimulus checks update: calculate your payment

There still are some lawmakers and people of the general public a bit unhappy with the “$2,000 stimulus checks.”

The confusion stems from statements made by Biden and others that they supported “$2,000 stimulus checks,” even after $600 checks had started going out.

Many people assumed that the politicians meant that a $2,000 stimulus check would be on the way in addition to the $600 check.

Furthermore, they felt that the language being used may have been a bit misleading on purpose just to score additional political points.

Regardless of how you feel, it looks like we will be dealing with $1,400 checks coming out. The good news is that we should also see expanded eligibility for these checks.

The big change will be that dependents will include people like many college students and disabled adults. And reportedly, these people will be eligible for a $2,000 check!

This is because they were left out of the last round of stimulus checks but we are still waiting for confirmation on this amount.

For some people, the small change will be quite huge.

And unexpected $2,000 could go a long way at this point.

It appears that the income qualifications will likely remain the same.

This means that if you are an individual with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, you will be entitled to the full amount of the check.

If you are filing as a married couple and your adjusted gross income is 150,000 or less, you will be entitled to the full amount.

If you make a bit more than that then your payment amount will be gradually reduced.

If you are not sure about how much you will be entitled to, you can now use a calculator to estimate your payment.

This calculator is not based on the exact specifics that we will see you when and if this bill becomes a law.

We still don’t know for sure if this bill will pass and how the final terms will be drafted. So just use this calculator as “preliminary guidance” on what you might be able to expect in the next few months.

Tomorrow is inauguration day which is when Biden will officially become president. So shortly after that, we might start hearing about more exact specifics on the CASH act.

Although I would hope for a swift negotiation process, there is always the possibility that things could drag on for weeks or months, especially now that there is a controversial impeachment process that needs to take place.


Big week for stimulus relief, $1,400 checks

$2,000 monthly checks getting another push

Stimulus check backlash over $2,000 checks

Big week for stimulus relief, $1,400 checks

This week is setting up to be a huge week for the next round of stimulus checks and stimulus relief as a whole.

President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20 and based on comments from his transition team, we expect to see stimulus relief to be a top priority.

How exactly the stimulus checks are going to go out is still not 100% clear.

We are expecting to see them push for $1,400 stimulus checks as soon as the transition of power is over.

But we also know that the stimulus plan from the Biden administration is expected to be valued at nearly $2 trillion.

While Democrats control both chambers in Congress and the White House, they still will likely need 60 votes in the Senate to pass the legislation.

$2 trillion is significantly higher than the proposals most members of the GOP were on board with.

This means that lawmakers might enter into another long and protracted battle over what should and should not be in the next stimulus relief bill.

So one route to get the stimulus checks out quicker would be to try to pass a standalone bill.

That might be a good route to go because the current stimulus plan has a lot of benefits that will certainly be very controversial such as increased minimum wage.

At the same time, the Democratic party has preferred to lump most of their items together in the past and if that trend continues then we may not see a standalone bill.

The other side to this equation is what will be happening with the impeachment hearings.

The two big concerns are: 1) will this slow down the proceedings and 2) will this have voting applications on the stimulus bill.

We already witnessed the confirmation hearings of a Supreme Court Justice interfere with the stimulus talks and cause a bit of drama on Capitol Hill.

And now we have impeachment hearings that are occurring after a tumultuous scene at the Capitol. Emotions are still running high and that could cause interference with the stimulus talks.

Also, it’s possible that many Republicans will not be pleased with the impeachment movement itself and as a result will choose to not go along with Democrat priorities.

Those Republicans who do support the impeachment might be willing to side with Democrats though.

So it’s hard to tell how this will play out.

Many experts think that early February would be the earliest that we would see a package approved but if Democrats don’t come down on their figures that might be too optimistic.

The good news is that despite some errors it does seem like the second round of stimulus checks went out very quickly.

So once an agreement is made I don’t think Americans will have to wait very long to receive the additional $1,400 payments.

I’ll be watching these negotiations unfold beginning this week and hopefully lawmakers will consider the standalone route if they feel like talks will be held up because of other measures included in the bill.



$2,000 monthly checks getting another push

Stimulus check backlash over $2,000 checks

Details of new $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal revealed

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