Narrower income requirements for the next round of stimulus checks would mean 11.8 million fewer adults and 4.6 million fewer children would get payments compared with an earlier version of the relief bill that passed the House last week, according to estimates by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
The Senate version of the deal reportedly further targets the stimulus checks by phasing out the payments sooner and has the support of the White House.
"For most people, the stricter income limits proposed in the Senate does not make a difference," Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy at ITEP, told Yahoo Money. "For the bottom 60% of Americans, the folks who really need help, there would be basically no difference at all."
Under the amended provision, a single filer making up to $75,000 would get the full payment, while those earning up to $80,000 would get a reduced amount. Joint filers making up to $150,000 would get the full $2,800, while those earning up $160,000 would get a smaller amount. Previously, the phase-out thresholds were $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for join filers in the House version.
The bottom 60% of households wouldn't see a smaller payment under the Senate version. Households making $65,000 to $111,300 would see their average stimulus payment decrease by $90 to $2,910, while households earning between $111,300 and $247,400 would see their average payment drop by $420 to $2,260, the analysis found.
The amount per individual and bonus per dependents remains unchanged at $1,400 and would apply to all dependents. Previously, parents or guardians could only claim the bonus for dependents under 17. Now the bonus can be claimed for college students, disabled adults, and other adults who are dependents.
"The President promised and committed to ensuring that the American people receive $2,000 in checks — this $1,400 is part of delivering on that promise," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference on Wednesday. "He has also been clear that he is open to changes on the margins of his package, while he is very firm on the $1,400."
The Senate is expected to vote on the $1.9 trillion stimulus package as early as Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Wednesday.
Support from the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate — along with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote — is required to get the legislation through without Republican backing. But support from more moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — who have opposed stimulus checks going to high-income earners — is up in the air.
The Senate has limited time to pass the stimulus bill and send it to the president's desk before jobless Americans face a cash crunch. This spring, up to 11.4 million workers stand to lose their base unemployment benefits, while all out-of-work Americans could see the extra $300 in weekly benefits disappear if no stimulus deal is passed, allowing key unemployment programs to expire, an analysis by The Century Foundation found.
Along with stimulus checks, the legislation includes. the extension of key unemployment programs until the end of August, $350 billion to state and local governments, an increase in tax credits for low- and middle-income families, and $160 billion for a national program on vaccination and testing.