WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil a coronavirus relief plan Thursday that includes the largest direct payment yet: $2,000 for most Americans.
While the current price tag of the package is unknown, it is expected to include an extension of unemployment assistance, aid to local and state governments, a boost for small businesses, funding for vaccine distribution and schools, and a third round of stimulus checks.
While a $2,000 check might sound nice, many people are left wondering whether they’d qualify. The short answer right now is that we don’t know. That information might be available as soon as Thursday — and, of course, it could change through the course of debate.
With different thresholds for the first two payments, a plan passed in the House following President Trump’s push for larger payments instead of $600 checks may provide us with a framework for qualifications.
Under that House, there was a phaseout structure. However, people making up to $115,000 annually would still get a payment because of the larger amount of the check.
Marc Goldwin, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, tweeted out a breakdown of the $2,000 payments and how they would work under the House proposal. Couples with children would be eligible for the most money — up to $14,000 for a couple earning less than $150,00 with five kids.
The previously-passed House plan also allowed for adult dependents, like college-age students, to be eligible for the $2,000 check.
Of course, just because it was a proposal in the Democratic-controlled House doesn’t mean it will be Biden’s plan. However, it provides a foundation for what we might see.
Analysts say the voting on Biden’s stimulus plan should give us insight on whether or not Republicans will work with the Democratic majority or collectively draw a line in the sand.
West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin has indicated he’s not in favor of the large checks going out. Last week he told the Washington post, “absolutely not” on the idea of direct payments with that high of a financial figure that aren’t specifically targeted.
A few days later, he seemed to temper his tone during an appearance on CNN.
“That’s not a yes or no question,” Manchin told Jake Tapper Sunday. “How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed? And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check.”
Last week, Biden told voters in Georgia that if Democrats won those races, $2,000 stimulus checks would be on their way to most Americans.
That ended up happening, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reinforced that money was on its way.
“One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families,” Schumer, who will become majority leader, said Wednesday.
Previously, the GOP-controlled Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been the biggest hurdle for getting larger direct payments passed.
So when could this $2,000 payment become a reality? Probably early February at the earliest. The results in Georgia would first need to be certified before the new senators take their seats. It’s expected that Republicans will file appeals to those results. The deadline to certify results is January 22, according to Yahoo News.