HOUSTON – The Senate approved the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Friday, which would include a third round of stimulus checks.
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the 51-50 vote after casting her tie-breaking vote.
According to the Associated Press, the Senate passed an amendment 99-1 that would prevent the $1,400 in direct checks in Biden’s proposal from going to “upper-income taxpayers.” But the measure, led by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, is ultimately symbolic and nonbinding and does not specify at what level a person qualifies as upper income, according to AP.
People are hurting across the country, and today’s jobs report made that clear. Tune in as I discuss the state of our economy and the need for the American Rescue Plan. https://t.co/JmFqJvPL8z— President Biden (@POTUS) February 5, 2021
The White House is apparently open to narrowing the $1,400 stimulus checks to certain households but keeping those payments to $1,400 per person, according to the Washington Post. Congressional Republicans and senior Democrats raised concerns that Biden’s proposal to send another round of stimulus checks would give government aid to Americans who do not need it, according to reports.
This morning, I met with a group of Democratic Senators to discuss the American Rescue Plan and how we emerge from the crises we face. One thing is clear: we all agree that now is the time for big, bold action to change the course of the pandemic and begin economic recovery. pic.twitter.com/jmDQB67Jbf— President Biden (@POTUS) February 4, 2021
One of the proposals is to lower the threshold for the payments to those who make $50,000 and $75,000 for people who file as the heads of households, and $100,000 for married couples, the Washington Post reports.
The third stimulus plan is in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December. By bringing payments to $2,000 — an amount Democrats previously called for — the administration says it will help families meet basic needs and support local businesses.
And while Biden seemed willing to break with Republicans in his speech, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters afterward that the reconciliation process approved by the Senate still allows for bipartisanship.
“The process enables for time for negotiations through committee work,” Psaki said. “We certainly are hopeful that there will be opportunities for amendments from Republicans, amendments from others across the board to be a part of this process moving forward.”