President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that his administration will have distributed 100 million stimulus checks to Americans by Wednesday.
“The American Rescue Plan brings relief to a population that is badly hurting,” Biden said in remarks from Columbus, Ohio. “One more element of our response is that first and foremost commitment to get Americans” $1,400 stimulus checks.
“We’re on the verge of doing that as of tomorrow,” Biden said.
Biden’s update means that he will meet the goal he set last week to send 100 million direct payments to Americans in the next 10 days. The checks have been sent to the bank accounts of individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and couples making up to $150,000 a year. For eligible Americans without direct deposit, the direct payments are still being delivered in check form, Biden said Tuesday.
Last week, Biden also promised to have administered 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 10 days. His administration surpassed that milestone on Friday, over a month ahead of schedule, as Biden initially planned to hit the mark in 100 days. As of Tuesday, 128 million doses have been administered in the United States.
The president has visited multiple states in recent days as part of a tour to promote the recently-enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package and brief the public on its implementation.
First lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff also have been traveling across the country to champion the bill.
Americans who don’t receive a $1,400 direct deposit by March 24 can expect either a mailed check or a prepaid debit card, according to the Treasury Department.
The cabinet agency said in a statement that a second round of stimulus checks were sent out on Friday with a pay date of Wednesday, March 24. People waiting for checks after that date will likely receive theirs by mail.
“Taxpayers who do not receive a direct deposit by March 24 should watch the mail carefully in the coming weeks for a paper check or a prepaid debit card, known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card,” Treasury said on Monday.
The Biden administration along with Congress approved $1,400 stimulus checks earlier this month, the third wave of federal payouts over the last year. The IRS started issuing the payments only a day after the rescue package was signed into law.
The Treasury Department said on Wednesday it had already deposited 90 million checks, amounting to $242 billion. It also said 150,000 paper checks were mailed.
Singles earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income qualify for the full amount, along with couples making up to $150,000. Each adult dependent is eligible for a check as well.
But the stimulus check amounts shrink much more quickly above those thresholds. Individuals earning more than $80,000 and couples making above $160,000 will receive zero.
The Treasury Department announced Wednesday it has distributed 90 million direct payments to Americans, and people can start tapping into their federal relief funds.
“The first batch of payments were mostly sent by direct deposit, which some recipients started receiving this past weekend,” the Treasury Department said in a statement. “As of today, all recipients of this first batch of direct deposit payments will have access to their funds.”
The 90 million federal payouts amounted to $242 billion, the Treasury said. It added that the first round of direct payments went to taxpayers who provided deposit information on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns. The federal government has also mailed 150,000 paper checks, the agency said.
The IRS and Treasury started distributing the $1,400 federal payments on Friday evening, only a day after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan into law.
Singles earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income qualify for the full amount, along with couples making up to $150,000. Each adult dependent is eligible for a check as well. But the stimulus payments diminish in size much more quickly. Individuals earning above $80,000 and couples making above $160,000 will receive zero.
People can track the status of their relief checks using the “Get my Payment” portal. The Treasury said that 35 million Americans had accessed the service for more information.
President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus law last week, among the largest government rescue measures in American history.
Many of its provisions are directed at keeping individuals and families afloat as vaccinations become more widely available. Still, some aspects of the law may end up dramatically remaking the social safety net.
“This package sets a new and powerful precedent, especially for helping children and their families when they have limited or no income,” Indivar Dutta-Gupta, co-executive director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, said in a recent interview with Insider.
(1) $1,400 stimulus checks
The relief law includes a $1,400 direct payment for most taxpayers. Those will be distributed over the next few weeks, and some are already going out the door.
Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000 qualify for full checks. A married couple, then, can get $2,800. People can also collect an extra $1,400 per adult dependent, a change from the first two federal payouts.
People earning above those thresholds still qualify for a smaller direct payment. But eligibility is capped at individuals earning more than $80,000 and joint filers bringing in more than $160,000, meaning people and households making above those amounts are paid nothing.
(2) $300 federal unemployment benefits through Labor Day
The law provides $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits until September 6. The measure renewed the government supplement to state unemployment checks for an extra six months.
It extends the length of various programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for long-term unemployed people. Both will expire in September without additional action in Congress.
(3) Expanded tax credits
The law also beefs up the child tax credit for millions of families. For the next year, it provides $3,600 per child aged 5 and under, and $3,000 for each kid aged 6 to 17.
Payments were designated as “periodic” to clear Senate procedural hurdles, but Democrats want to implement advance monthly checks to families of up to $300, although it’s unclear if the IRS can accommodate that request. Advance checks could start going out on July 1, the legislation indicates.
Other tax credits are augmented as well, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The law nearly triples the maximum amount a childless worker can receive, from $540 to $1500. The income cap for adults is also lifted from $16,000 to $21,000, a step widening its reach.
(4) Bigger SNAP benefits
The measure also aims to address hunger and food insecurity through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It renews a 15% boost to SNAP benefits through September.
Many Americans are seeing $1,400 stimulus checks hit their bank accounts this weekend under President Joe Biden’s stimulus law. But people may not be able to immediately tap into it – at least, not until St. Patrick’s Day at the earliest.
The direct payments, which the IRS labeled as “Economic Impact Payments,” are set to be paid out on March 17, per the agency.
“As with the first two Economic Impact Payments in 2020, most Americans will receive their money without having to take any action,” the IRS said on its website. “Some Americans may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of March 17.”
That means it could take several more days for the relief checks to clear at major banks like Wells Fargo. Others such as Chase said on their website it expected to release the payouts March 17 and after.
“Wells Fargo will process all of the direct deposits according to the effective date provided by the U.S. Treasury,” the bank said in numerous follow-up tweets to customers frustrated with the delay.
Some digital banks, like Chime, however, said they authorized clients to instantly access their federal cash. On Friday, they issued a “stimmy alert” on Twitter saying the service had already distributed $600 million.
Chime did not immediately respond to a request for comment on their decision.
The IRS also said Friday that people can begin tracking the status of their checks using the “Get my Payment” portal on Monday. The agency also said it expects to issue more direct deposits and send payments as a check or debit card over the coming weeks.
Singles earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income qualify for the full amount, along with couples making up to $150,000. Each adult dependent is eligible for a check as well.
However, the stimulus payments phase out much quicker. Individuals earning above $80,000 and couples making above $160,000 will not receive anything.
President Joe Biden secured his first major legislative victory on the 51st day of his new administration. He signed a $1.9 trillion economic aid bill into law Thursday, paving the way for a large infusion of federal cash onto middle-class and lower-income Americans.
The package includes various measures to help struggling households a year into the pandemic: A wave of $1,400 stimulus payments, beefed-up tax credits for children and adults, larger food-stamp assistance, and enhanced unemployment insurance. Democrats cast it as among the most historic pieces of legislation that Congress has taken up in many years.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared the relief bill to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed a decade ago under President Barack Obama, which provided health coverage to millions of Americans. “I think I can safely say, and I’ve said this to my colleagues in the House on the Democratic side, this is the most consequential legislation that many of us will ever be a party to,” Pelosi said on Thursday.
Unlike the ACA, though, the stimulus package does not permanently strengthen America’s social safety net. Passed via reconciliation on a party-line vote to bypass a Republican filibuster, all the government aid expires in 2021. It’s one reason Wall Street analysts are projecting a strong economic recovery in 2021 – but it may prompt clashes on Capitol Hill.
The law’s provisions are designed to provide a temporary boost now or expire later this year. The stimulus checks are one-time payments; $300 federal unemployment benefits are set to lapse on Labor Day; advance child tax credit payments for parents will last only a year.
“I think the fundamental choice policymakers will face then is whether or not they want to swing from maybe the largest one-year child poverty reduction in US history to the largest one-year increase in child poverty,” Indivar Dutta-Gupta, co-executive director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, told Insider.
Numerous studies indicate the legislation will make a major dent in the nation’s poverty rate, cutting the overall level by one-third and slashing it by half for children. Experts also project millions of Black and Latino kids will be lifted out of poverty due to the child tax credit expansion. The bottom 20% of Americans are estimated to receive a 20% boost in their incomes, per a Tax Policy Center analysis.
Republicans have uniformly opposed this bill as too large and stuffed with progressive priorities. No Republican lawmaker in either chamber of Congress voted for it, viewing it as a slippery slope towards bigger government.
In control of Congress and the White House for the first time since Obama took office, Democrats consider the moment as an opportunity to wage a fresh assault on poverty and leave their mark while in power. Without further action in Congress, child poverty will double next year.
“This package sets a new and powerful precedent, especially for helping children and their families when they have limited or no income,” Dutta-Gupta said, adding it was an “earnest attack” on the racial inequalities that the pandemic worsened.
The Democratic push to make permanent changes
Democrats are starting to become vocal about pressing to make at least some of the provisional parts of the law enduring – the child tax credit in particular. It would annually provide up to $3,600 per child age 5 and under, and $3,000 for each kid between ages 6 and 17. It also expands it to millions of families who previously did not qualify because of low or zero tax obligations.
Many Republicans oppose it. “If pulling families out of poverty were as simple as handing moms and dads a check, we would have solved poverty a long time ago,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wrote in a National Review op-ed. However, they may begrudingly support the measure given its wide scope once it’s up and running.
“Republicans will probably end up voting to extend the child credit because they understand it would be political suicide not to,” Brian Riedl, an economist at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute, said in an interview. “Once a middle-class benefit is created, it is nearly impossible to let expire. This is so broad, and it is going to be received by so many families.”
Democrats appear to be betting enough Republicans will come onboard with an expansion. It may be a risky one given GOP opposition to green-light more government spending after Congress approved $5 trillion in emergency aid over the last year. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah rolled out a child benefit plan, one paid for by cutting some social programs.
Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and an architect of the measure, told Insider this week that he believed the child benefit expansion would establish a pillar of support. “Once it becomes policy, I think there’s an acceptance level for it,” Neal said.
The shift in Democratic messaging, however, appears to lend credence to GOP arguments that the stimulus law veered from providing immediate pandemic relief to enacting lasting safety net changes.
“Republicans feel vindicated in their opposition,” Riedl said. “The ones I’ve talked to – they’ve been saying all along that this bill was never about the pandemic or stimulus, this was about permanently expanding the federal government.”
Some, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are wagering voters will grow disillusioned once they learn more about the law’s sweeping reach. He labeled it “a payoff for Pelosi’s political allies,” though the GOP has struggled to arrange a consistent response.
In 2009, Congressional Republicans’ attempts to paint Obama’s $800 billion stimulus law as a huge waste contributed to Democrats losing the House in the midterms the following year. That dealt a crippling blow to Obama’s ability to push his legislative agenda in a divided Congress.
“I’m a lot less worried about the negative response as people learn what’s in the package,” Dutta Gupta said. “The depths of the crisis is far worse, the popularity of the bill going through is far greater. I think the benefits seem more salient this time around.”
So far, the Biden stimulus law has drawn broad support in multiple polls and surveys. It remains to be seen if other provisions, such as stronger unemployment benefits, could form part of a follow-up economic recovery package.
House Democrats said on Friday afternoon they have officially started work on an infrastructure package, kicking off what appears likely to be a lengthy stretch of negotiations on a multitrillion-dollar economic recovery bill.
“Building our transportation system has long been bipartisan,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “It is our hope that spirit will prevail as we address other critical needs in energy and broadband, education and housing, water systems and other priorities.”
She went on: “As we engage in these job-creating initiatives, we must discuss their impact on the federal budget, on creating economic growth and on preserving our planet.”
Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that Pelosi had instructed him to explore “how we can use the tax code to invest in modernizing and uplifting our communities while creating good jobs that will get Americans back on their feet.”
The statements came only hours after Pelosi, Neal, and other top Democrats from both chambers of Congress took a victory lap at the White House on a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that the president signed into law Thursday. Democrats are attempting to quickly capitalize on the law’s popularity with the public and show that their control of Congress and the White House is producing tangible benefits for ordinary Americans, like the $1,400 direct payments in the stimulus.
But Democrats are likely to face hurdles as whether to employ budget reconciliation to fast-track parts of it in a party-line vote, and how to pay for it. Some Senate Democrats and the Biden administration favor raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, a step likely to trigger Republican opposition.
Pelosi elaborated on potential elements of an infrastructure package during her weekly press conference on Thursday, calling it one of her “favorite subjects.”
“It’s not just roads and bridges, mass transit and high-speed rail, it’s also about water systems,” she said. “Some of the water systems we have are over 100 years old.”
The Biden administration initially said it would release an infrastructure plan in February. It never did so and hasn’t outlined any specifics. Still, there are early indications of its possible scope.
The White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, told Punchbowl News on Wednesday that the administration views robust spending on infrastructure as a way for the US to bolster its global competitiveness. He also said it could include funding for new fleets of electric-vehicle-powering stations and clean power.
Eligible Americans will start to receive $1,400 stimulus checks “as early as this weekend,” the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, announced on Thursday.
Psaki said the Treasury Department and the IRS were “working hard to get relief payments out the door as fast as possible to the American people.”
“People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend,” Psaki said. “This is of course just the first wave.
“Payments to eligible Americans will continue throughout the course of the next several weeks,” she added.
The update came shortly after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, called the American Rescue Plan, into law. The bill includes $1,400 direct payments for millions of American taxpayers.
Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000 qualify for the full check.
People earning above those thresholds still qualify for a smaller direct payment. But eligibility is capped at individuals earning more than $80,000 and joint filers bringing in more than $160,000.
Psaki said earlier this week that a “large number” of Americans should expect to get the checks by the end of the month. They’re the third wave of direct payments that the federal government has issued in the yearlong coronavirus pandemic.
It took roughly a month and a half for the IRS to distribute 147 million payments of up to $600 under the relief law enacted in December.
The latest massive bill also provides an extension of weekly federal unemployment benefits, an expanded child tax credit, funding for vaccine distribution, and several other measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden plans to address the nation in a primetime speech on Thursday to promote the package and discuss his next steps for tackling the public-health crisis. The House passed the legislation on Wednesday, four days after the Senate approved it.
Not a single Republican lawmaker in either chamber voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid package, reflecting their fierce opposition to an early Democratic legislative priority.
The House voted 220-211 to approve the relief package in mostly party-line vote. The legislation encountered a brick wall of GOP opposition as every House Republican opposed it. Only one Democrat voted against it.
The bill’s path through the House and Senate starkly illustrates the widening gulf between Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Nearly a decade ago, President Barack Obama pushed through an $800 billion stimulus package aimed at preventing the freefall of the American economy after the financial crisis.
That measure drew some GOP support. Every House Republican voted against the bill in February 2009. However, it garnered the support of three Republican senators in the upper chamber as Democrats at the time pressed to keep the bill’s price tag in check.
Still, right-leaning experts argue now that Republicans were cut out of the negotiating process by Biden along with Congressional Democrats. Biden rejected a $618 billion stimulus counteroffer put forward by a group of 10 Senate Republicans in February.
“They were completely ignored,” Brian Riedl, a budget expert at the libertarian-leaning Manhattan Institute, said in an interview. “Democrats put out a $1.9 trillion bill barely moved an inch and there was no attempt at compromise.”
He added: “Republicans are more concerned about drawing a line in the sand, and spending money more smartly in the recession.”
Others say that Republicans are less willing to negotiate a middle ground with Democrats.
“It’s the latest indication of how polarized the Republican Party has become, despite the fact it’s overwhelmingly popular with the American people,” Jim Manley, a former senior Democratic aide, told Insider. “They were prepared to vote no.”
Democrats pushed through the legislation using a maneuver known as budget reconciliation. It allows bills to be approved in the Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of crossing a 60-vote threshold.
The House is set to vote on the final version of the $1.9 trillion relief plan early Wednesday and send the bill to President Joe Biden for his signature
The House Rules Committee is taking it up on Tuesday to set the parameters for debate on the floor.
The Democratic relief bill would provide $1,400 stimulus checks for most taxpayers; $300 federal unemployment benefits through August; $350 billion in state and local aid; and funds for vaccine distribution and virus testing among other provisions. It also contains a large boost to the child tax credit.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says Democrats were determined to quickly approve the plan and assailed the GOP for not supporting it.
“The question is not whether we’re going to pass the American Rescue plan – we will,” he said at a press conference. “The question is whether Republicans are going to step up on behalf of their constituents and support this effort to decisively crush the virus.”
Republicans are strongly critical of the legislation, assailing it as a wasteful endeavor that could have been improved with their involvement. The GOP has blasted the large price tag. No House Republican voted for its passage last month, and they are likely to be united in opposition again. No Senate Republican voted for it more recently in that chamber.
“We could have had a bill that was a fraction of the cost of this one, it could have gotten bipartisan approval and support,” Rep. Liz Cheney, chair of the House Republican Conference, told reporters on Tuesday.
Like with many large bills, the legislation being considered by the House looks different from the version that was submitted to the Senate weeks ago. Senate Democrats were advised by the parliamentarian to scrap a $15 minimum wage, a top progressive priority, and some moderate senators successfully pushed Biden to tighten the eligibility for a third wave of stimulus checks.
But there were no immediate signs of a revolt among House progressives. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, criticized the bill over the weekend and reiterated on Tuesday that the Senate had “failed” to put struggling Americans first, but said she would still vote for the final bill.
“While I will continue to pressure my party to live up to its banner as the party of the people I cannot ignore the immediate need for relief,” she said in a statement.