WASHINGTON - A third stimulus check for Americans still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic seems almost guaranteed as Congress and the Biden administration move forward with passing another emergency relief package.
But the size of the payment is still unclear: While President Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion measure that includes a $1,400 check for individuals, a coalition of more moderate Republicans released a counterproposal on Monday calling for $1,000 checks.
Under the GOP offer, individuals earning up to $40,000 per year would be eligible to receive the full $1,000. The payments would be tapered for higher earners and phased out entirely for individuals who earn more than $50,000 annually. For couples who file jointly, the checks would begin phasing out at $80,000 and would be capped at $100,000.
Children and adults who qualify as dependents would be eligible to receive an extra $500, meaning that a family of three could receive as much as $3,500 through the proposal.
The checks would cost an estimated $220 billion, according to a draft released by the group of 10 Republicans on Monday.
The measure, roughly one-third of the $1.9 trillion proposal outlined by Biden at the beginning of January, also includes $300 a week in supplemental unemployment benefits through June, $50 billion for small businesses including an additional $40 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program and $160 billion to accelerate vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing.
Though many concede that another round of emergency aid is needed, the majority of Republican lawmakers have criticized the size and scope of Biden's $1.9 trillion measure, arguing that it's too expensive and comes too soon on the heels of the $900 billion aid package that Congress passed in December.
Biden invited the 10 senators, led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to the White House on Monday evening for a lengthy meeting on the next aid package. Collins said the discussion had been a "very good exchange of views," though "I wouldn't say that we came together on a package tonight."
Biden and the senators agreed to continue their discussions, she said.
in addition to a $1,400 stimulus check, Democrats' bill is expected to include an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits at $400 a week through September, $350 billion in funding for state and local governments and $20 billion for vaccine distribution. It would also raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, in addition to a number of other provisions.
The Biden proposal did not specify the eligibility requirements for the stimulus money, but indicated they were open to discussing it.
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