WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Over the last few days, President Joe Biden has indicated he’s willing to “target” $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans most in need in an effort to find bipartisan ground with Republican lawmakers. According to multiple reports, plans are being drawn up to phase out direct payments at $50,000 per year.
According to The Washington Post, that would mean $1,400 checks for anyone making less than $50,000 and $2,800 for married couples earning $100,000 or less. If an individual was considered the head of house and earning up to $75,000, he or she would also qualify.
Just as we’ve seen with other rounds of direct payments, people who earn more than those thresholds would be able to collect smaller payments.
The Washington Post reports parents of children would collect an addition $1,400 per kid. For example, a married couple with three children could receive up to $7,000.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden shot down a Republican alternative to his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan that would lower the stimulus check about to $1,000. The GOP’s plan for direct payments set the threshold at $40,000 a year, or $80,000 for couples.
Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday that he doesn’t want to budge from the $1,400 promised to Americans. But he said he is willing to “target” the aid, which would mean lowering the income threshold to qualify.
“I’m not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people,” he said.
Biden spoke with House Democrats and followed with a meeting of top Senate Democrats at the White House, deepening his public engagement with lawmakers on his American Rescue Plan. Together the virus and economic aid is his first legislative priority and a test of the administration’s ability to work with Congress to deliver.
While Biden is trying to build bipartisan support from Republicans, he is also prepared to rely on the Democratic majority in Congress to push the package into law. Democrats moved ahead with preliminary steps, including a House budget vote Wednesday largely along party lines, to approve it on their own, over Republicans objections.
While many were hopeful for a quick passage of a COVID relief package, it now looks like discussions will continue past February — meaning the earliest you could see a payment would likely be mid-March. The impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump is expected to slow the process even though Democrats have vowed to multitask.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president fully recognizes the final package may look different than the one he initially proposed.
She said further targeting the $1,400 payments “means not the size of the check, it means the income level of the people who receive the check.” That’s under discussion, she said.
As lawmakers in Congress begin drafting the details, Biden is taking care to politically back up his allies while also ensuring that the final product fulfills his promise for bold relief to a battered nation.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell criticized the Democrats for pressing ahead largely on their own as the GOP senators try to provide bipartisan alternatives.
“They’ve chosen a totally partisan path,” McConnell said. “That’s unfortunate.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.