Under President Biden's stricter eligibility parameters, over 16 million Americans will no longer qualify to receive a third stimulus check.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy published a preliminary analysis that found a plan by moderate Democrats to cut benefits for those earning a higher income resulting in about 11.8 million adults and 4.6 children being disqualified from being able to receive a check.
Under the latest proposal, Americans earning $75,000 or less would still receive the fully promised $1,400 payment. But the checks would phase out faster for individuals at higher income levels than in the version passed Saturday by House Democrats, with individuals making $80,000 a year or more and couples making $160,000 a year, or higher, no longer qualifying for the money.
The House version of the bill would also send the $1,400 payments to individuals earning $75,000 or below each year, but the money would phase out slower, with the eligibility cut-off at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 per year for couples.
That means individuals earning between $80,000 and $100,000, and couples earning between $160,000 and $200,000, are newly excluded from a partial check under the newest plan, which has been backed by the Biden administration.
Although the House bill would benefit more adults — about 91%, compared to the Senate's 86% — both versions would benefit 100% of adults and children who are among the bottom 60% of income-earners in the U.S., according to the analysis.
Stimulus check eligibility emerged as a major point of contention between different ideological factions of the Democratic Party. The party can't afford to lose the support of even a single Senate Democrat, as it needs all 50 members to pass the measure via simple majority with a procedural tool known as budget reconciliation.
Progressives slammed the decision to tighten eligibility, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arguing that conservative Democrats have fought so that the Biden administration sends "fewer and less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did."
"It’s a move that makes little-to-no political or economic sense, and targets an element of relief that is most tangibly felt by everyday people. An own-goal," Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Wednesday, adding: "We have a responsibility to show people in this country what a Democratic majority can do for working people. That means more generous relief checks."
Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did.
It’s a move that makes little-to-no political or economic sense, and targets an element of relief that is most tangibly felt by everyday people. An own-goal. https://t.co/n6j2eEBKXx
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 3, 2021
The Senate has everything in place to pass its own version of the bill this week, all that's left is for the House to either vote on that measure or the two chambers will need to come together to draft a final bill.
Lawmakers are rushing to have the legislation on Biden's desk before the March 14 deadline, when over 11 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits due to two federal jobless aid programs running out.