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A leftover from yesterday, and not a headline the Biden White House wants to see circulating on a day when Democrats are supposed to be rejoicing over the Senate’s passage of the latest big COVID relief package.
Omar’s annoyed here at the income caps that were imposed on stimulus checks a few days ago at the behest of centrist Dems in the Senate like Joe Manchin. Initially the House wanted full $1,400 checks for individual taxpayers with $100,000 or less in income and couples with $200,000 or less before the check amount began to phase out. That got watered down before it reached the Senate to please House centrists, with Pelosi ultimately settling for starting the phase-outs at $75,000 and $150,000 instead. This week Senate Democrats tacked on a new provision adding hard caps of $80,000 and $160,000; if you made more than that last year, you don’t get a check at all. Result:
Omar seemed to be referring to numbers from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank. An analysis by the group estimated that under the Senate package, 11.8 million fewer adults and 4.6 million fewer children would be able to obtain direct payments than would have been able to under the House’s version.
That’s 16 million people who would have gotten some sort of check from the new bill before the caps were added who won’t get anything now. Which means previous tranches of stimulus passed under Trump’s administration, with a Republican White House and a Republican Senate, ended up pushing out money to more recipients than the current tranche under a Democratic White House and Democratic Senate will.
But it’s apples and oranges, no? Joe Manchin’s reason for capping the checks and shortening the term of beefed-up federal unemployment benefits is that the pandemic should be easing soon-ish and he doesn’t want to spend more money than is necessary to get Americans through the final leg of it. If vaccinations continue apace and herd immunity begins to set in this summer, COVID restrictions will begin to lift durably and the country’s businesses will come back online with few or no capacity limits. We should see a hiring frenzy, reducing the need for longer-term financial aid from the feds. And if we don’t for whatever reason, Congress can always address that later this year.
"I see it as a really disappointing development. We obviously are now ultimately sending money to less people than the Trump administration," says Rep. Ilhan Omar on Covid relief.
"It is a failure when we compromise ourselves out of delivering on behalf of the American people." pic.twitter.com/MM8NAykxNk
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) March 5, 2021
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