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(CBS Detroit) — A $1,400 third stimulus check is currently working its way through Congress as part of a $1.9 trillion relief package. The Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, in its proposed form, also features better unemployment benefits, an improved child tax credit and a $15 minimum wage. These and other possible programs are meant to provide additional aid to millions of Americans dealing with economic hardship stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. How it evolves will determine how much money actually reaches people’s bank accounts in the coming months.
President Biden and politicians from both sides of the aisle support giving Americans another stimulus check quickly. While Republicans have questioned other aspects of the plan — like the minimum wage hike — Democrats control both houses of Congress and are willing to pass stimulus legislation on a straight party-line vote. Budget reconciliation lets them sidestep the filibuster in the Senate and move the stimulus package to the President’s desk with a simple majority. Reaching 60 votes in this divided Congress would be unlikely.
The topline $1,400 number that’s drawn so much attention seems destined to become a reality. But the actual amount that people receive could change based on the income threshold, the number of dependents and other factors.
The idea of lowering the annual income requirement has gathered some steam. In early February, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine proposed an amendment aimed at “targeting economic impact payments to Americans who are suffering from the effects of COVID–19, including provisions to ensure upper-income taxpayers are not eligible.”
The previous two stimulus checks phased out for individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) over $75,000 per year and married couples with an AGI over $150,000. (AGI is the total of one’s wages, interest, dividends, alimony, retirement distributions and other sources of income minus certain deductions, such as student loan interest, alimony payments and retirement contributions.) For every dollar of income over the threshold, the previous two stimulus payments decreased by five percent. So the $1,200 payment from the CARES Act shrank to $0 for incomes over $99,000 ($198,000), and the $600 from the second stimulus shrank to $0 for incomes over $87,000 ($174,000).
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