President Joe Biden on Monday said he was open to negotiating terms for a pending round of economic impact payments, which may indicate that fewer individuals would end up qualifying.
While discussing his broader ideas to stimulate the U.S. economy on Monday, the president said he was aware proposals may not pass exactly the way he laid them out in his $1.9 trillion relief package.
"For example, you know I proposed that we — because it was bipartisan, I thought it would increase the prospects of passage — the additional $1,400 in direct cash payment to folks," Biden said. "Well, there’s legitimate reason for people to say, ‘Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way? Should it go to anybody making over X-number of dollars or why?’ I’m open to negotiate those things."
Biden added that he picked the terms because he thought them to be "rational and reasonable," while adding it was still a "bit of a moving target."
In order for legislation containing the stimulus checks to clear the Senate, some Republicans would need to sign on.
But conservatives are wary of the package’s overall price tag. Sending cash to fewer people – or lowering check amounts – may help appease Republicans on the direct-payment front.
The $1,400 figure has also come under scrutiny from some progressives, who indicated that it was not enough.
Democrats had promised $2,000 stimulus checks, but a provision for $600 was passed in December. The $1,400 figure would bring the total amount given to households to $2,000.
Individuals earning up to $75,000, or $150,000 for married couples, were eligible for the second round of $600 direct payments. Households were also eligible for an additional $600 per qualifying child.
Beyond those income thresholds, the payments began to phase out at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income.
Individuals earning more than $87,000 and married couples earning more than $174,000 were ineligible for payments.
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