- A group of senators introduced a measure to bar high-income families from getting $US1,400 checks.
- The bipartisan group’s amendment does not provide a threshold for the stimulus-check exclusions.
- Republicans and some Democrats have expressed support for stricter income thresholds for payments.
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A bipartisan group of 16 senators on Thursday cosponsored a budget amendment to exclude higher-income families from receiving the $US1,400 stimulus checks that the Senate approved.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia led the group’s effort. The amendment does not specify a threshold for exclusion from stimulus checks. It said only that it would prevent payments from going to “upper-income taxpayers.”
The measure passed in a 58-42 vote, though it is nonbinding. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was among those voting in favour of the measure. He said he didn’t want stimulus payments distributed to six-figure households.
He added: “I absolutely want to make certain people making $US75,000 or less a year do get their payments and couples making $US150,000 or less a year get their payments.”
The move was part of a “vote-a-rama” that kicked off on Thursday afternoon, a procedure allowing any senator to propose an amendment to the budget resolution that’s under debate. The resolution is expected to be approved as Democrats charge ahead with securing the passage of President Joe Biden’s $US1.9 trillion relief package without GOP votes.
The measure from Collins and Manchin underscores the ongoing debate in Congress on who should qualify for a new wave of $US1,400 stimulus checks. Biden and White House officials say they are willing compromise on the income threshold â€” but not the size â€” of the direct payments.
“Further targeting means not the size of the check â€” it means the income level of people who receive the check,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference on Wednesday. “That’s something that is under discussion.”
Some Democrats are eyeing a new plan that would direct stimulus payments toward lower-income households. The proposal would provide a full $US1,400 check only for people earning $US50,000 and under. And couples earning $US100,000 and below would qualify for a full federal payment.