How soon new $1,400 stimulus checks and other coronavirus relief could arrive

President Joe Biden is forging ahead with his plan to provide $1.9 trillion in additional coronavirus pandemic relief.

One bit of aid for individuals — $1,400 stimulus checks — could be subject to further negotiation.

Meanwhile, another initiative, raising the $15 per hour federal minimum wage, seems to be off the table for now. And enhanced unemployment is facing a March expiration date.

The House of Representatives wants to pass the coronavirus relief bill in the next two weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said. The Senate last week approved a budget resolution that would fast-track the additional Covid relief with a 51-50 vote (with the Vice President being the tie-breaker.)

More from Personal Finance:
Long-term unemployment is close to a Great Recession record
How Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan would avoid a benefits cliff
A $15 minimum wage is out of the latest stimulus package for now

The new aid package seems to have one quality that’s rare on Capitol Hill these days: momentum, according to Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James.

A big reason for that is Democrats are using budget reconciliation to secure the aid package, which will allow the measure to pass with a narrow majority.

“It’s not yet a done deal,” Mills said. “But certainly there is more unification among Democrats than I have really ever seen and a sense of urgency that usually doesn’t exist.”

Even so, Americans who are eager to receive more direct payments from the government may have to wait a little while longer.

“We’re looking at an early March timetable of getting something signed into law, if everything works correctly,” Mills said.

How eligibility for $1,400 checks may change

But if the phase-out rate stays the same, more people could qualify for reduced $1,400 checks. That could be resolved by either changing that rate or setting lower income thresholds.

A group of Republican senators has called for making full payments available to individuals making up to $40,000 and married couples who earn up to $80,000, while capping the checks at $50,000 and $100,000 for those groups, respectively.

This weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in an interview that while he supports stronger caps so that people making $300,000 per year do not receive the aid, it would be “absurd” to prevent someone making $52,000 from getting a check.

Research from the Tax Foundation has found the $1,400 checks could be further targeted: by lowering the caps or by increasing the phase down rate.

Why the $15 minimum wage is off the table

Another change would be to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The current rate, $7.25, has not increased since 2009.

But questions have come up as to whether increasing pay can be included in reconciliation, a process focused on the budget and related items.

“I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Biden said of the proposed pay hike in an interview that aired this weekend.

The president did, however, indicate he plans to push for a standalone bill to raise the minimum wage.

Will more aid follow?

Source link

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: