A recent poll found that the majority of Americans surveyed support the stimulus bill currently being considered by Congress, including the proposed $1,400 direct payments.
In the Monmouth University survey released Wednesday, 62% of respondents said they support the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and 34% oppose it. The poll was conducted Feb. 25-Mar. 1 with a sample size of 802 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The current stimulus bill under consideration includes $1,400 direct payments for individuals making up to $75,000 a year and married couples jointly earning up to $150,000 a year. Payments phase out after that, cutting off at individuals making $80,000 and couples making $160,000.
The legislation would also extend unemployment programs and boost weekly benefit payments from $300 to $400.
Fifty-three percent of respondents in the survey said they were satisfied with the $1,400 checks while 28% said they’d like larger payments and 14% said they wanted smaller payments.
A majority of respondents — 67% — said they support increasing unemployment benefits from $300 to $400 a week while 30% opposed extending benefits.
The House version of the bill included a federal minimum wage hike to $15 an hour but Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled last week that the stimulus deal including a federal minimum wage increase can’t be passed in the Senate under the reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority instead of 60 votes to advance the bill.
In the poll, 53% of respondents said they back a $15 federal minimum wage while 45% opposed the wage hike.
The survey also found that while 48% of respondents are willing to make cuts to the bill for the sake of bipartisan support, they’re less willing if it would mean reducing the amount in direct payments. Sixty-eight percent of Americans said the full $1,400 checks should stand even if it means the bill will only pass with the support of one party.
The Senate was expected to take a procedural vote and begin debate on the legislation on Wednesday but is still waiting for an estimate of the cost of the Senate version of the bill, USA Today reported. The Senate will then kick off a marathon of voting on the various pieces and amendments to the bill before approving the legislation. The House will have to either approve the Senate’s plan or meet with the chamber to draft a finalized bill before it can head to Biden’s desk and be signed into law.
Some Republicans have balked at the cost of the package and called for more “targeted” relief for families during the pandemic by lowering the income threshold requirements for direct payments. A group of 10 Republican senators released a counteroffer last month that would provide $1,000 stimulus checks for individuals making up to $40,000 a year and phase them out completely when income reaches $50,000.
Democrats are hoping to pass the stimulus deal into law before Mar. 14, the day that $300 weekly unemployment benefits approved in December’s coronavirus package expire.
Democrats have a narrow 50-50 majority in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie breaker, meaning the deal will require backing from the entire Democratic caucus if no Republicans vote for the legislation as expected, The Hill reported.