WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While much of the focus in Washington has shifted to the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, many Americans are waiting for word on the status of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes $1,400 stimulus checks.
On the go? Listen to the team that’s Working for Hawaii on the KHON 2Go podcast. Every morning at 8 a.m.
Whether you get a check depends on which direction Biden and Democratic leaders decide to go as proposal makes its way through committees over the next few weeks with the goal of additional relief being finalized by mid-March. It’s an aggressive timeline that will test the ability of the new administration and Congress to deliver.
A draft unveiled Monday in the Ways and Means Committee shows people earning $75,000 or less would receive the full $1,400 payment. That means couple with an income below $150,000 would receive $2,800.
The checks would phase out a little quicker than previous rounds, according to Fox News. Individuals earning more than $100,000 and couples making more than $200,000 would not receive additional money. Just as we’ve seen with other rounds of direct payments, people who earn more than $75,000 but less than that $100,000 threshold would be able to collect smaller payments.
The draft includes payment eligibility for dependents — this time including college students. Previous rounds of stimulus didn’t include dependents over the age of 17.
Under the legislation, dependents would be eligible for a full $1,400 payment. That means a family of two parents and two children could receive up to $5,600.
Biden’s initial proposal called for a $115,000 cap — and other plans from lawmakers tossed around “phase outs” as low as $40,000.
Where the process goes from here remains to be seen as things could certainly change in the weeks ahead. And while the impeachment trial may be a distraction for some, Biden is focused on economic relief.
“We’ve already lost 450,000 people and we’re gonna lose a whole lot more if we don’t act and act decisively and quickly. A lot of people as I said a lot of children are going to bed hungry a lot of families are food insecure they’re in trouble. That’s my job. The Senate has their job,” Biden said.
To that end, the president along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met Tuesday afternoon with several leaders in the financial community, including Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Walmart CEO Doug McMillan and Tom Donahue with U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The push for stimulus comes amid new signs of a weakening U.S. economy. Employers added just 49,000 jobs in January after cutting 227,000 jobs in December, according to the Labor Department. Restaurants, retailers, manufacturers and even the health care sector shed workers last month, meaning that private employers accounted for a meager gain of 6,000 jobs.
“At that rate, it’s going to take 10 years until we hit full employment,” Biden said last week in a meeting with House Democrats. “That’s not hyperbole. That’s a fact.”
The unemployment rate fell to 6.3% from 6.7%, but there was a decline in the number of people who were either working or looking for a job in a sign that some people are dropping out of the labor force. The U.S. economy is 9.9 million jobs shy of its pre-pandemic level.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.