Biden Blocks $1,400 Stimulus Checks for 16 Million Americans

"P20210216LJ-0166" (United States government work) by The White House

There are over 16 million Americans who will no longer qualify for a third stimulus check after Biden endorsed stricter eligibility parameters this week. 

“P20210219AS-0485” (United States government work) by The White House

A preliminary analysis published by the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that a plan endorsed by moderate Democrats will cut off cash payments to roughly 11.8 million higher-income adults and 4.6 million children. 

Under this latest proposal, Americans who are earning $75,000 or less would still receive the $1,4000 promised stimulus check payments. However, the checks would no longer be distributed to individuals who earn higher income levels than those in the previous version passed by House Democrats last Saturday. 

In the new proposal, individuals who are making $80,000 per year or more are no longer qualified to receive the stimulus checks. 

The House version of the bill would also deliver $1,400 payments to individuals earning $75,000 or below per year. However, the money would phase out slower, with the eligibility cut-off at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 per year for couples.

These new measures mean that individuals who are earning between $80,000 and $100,000 and couples that are earning between $160,000 and $200,000 per year are newly excluded from the partial check under the newest plan Biden administration supported. 

Stimulus check eligibility developed as one of the major debate points between various ideological sides of the Democratic party. However, the party cannot afford to lose the support of even a single Democratic Senator as it needs all 50 members of the Senate to pass the measure via a simple majority with a procedural process known as budget reconciliation. 

Meanwhile, some progressives slammed the decision by the Biden administration to tighten the eligibility requirements. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, argued that “conservative Democrats” have persisted so that the Biden administration sends “fewer and less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did.”

Ocasio-Cortez said on Wednesday, “It’s a move that makes little-to-no political or economic sense and targets an element of relief that everyday people most tangibly feel. An own-goal.” She added, “We have a responsibility to show people in this country what a Democratic majority can do for working people. That means more generous relief checks.”

The Senate is prepared to pass its own version of the coronavirus relief bill as soon as this week. After passing the bill in the Senate, the House, on the other hand, will either vote on that measure or have the two chambers will meet to draft a final bill.

As of the moment, Democrats are racing to send the final bill to Biden’s desk before March 14. 

Meanwhile, over 11 million Americans are at risk of losing their unemployment benefits in the middle of March if Congress does not pass another relief package before March 14. 

Between March 14 and April 11, about 11.4 million workers will be left with no income when two key federal jobless aid programs were created a year ago under the CARES Act — and extended in the $900 billion relief package Congress passed in December — expire. 

Meanwhile, job losses remain high as the coronavirus pandemic all across the country continues to trigger lockdown measures. 

The longer the workers are unemployed, the more likely it that they will be drawn to use their savings to make ends meet and increase the chances of borrowing money.