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Biden backs lower income cap for checks

Biden backs lower income cap for checks

President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses in response to coronavirus, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 22, 2021.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden has backed a plan to cut the income caps for receiving a direct payment as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package set to pass in the coming days, a Democratic source said Wednesday.

The phase out levels for the $1,400 stimulus checks are:

  • $75,000 in income for single filers; the cap for receiving some payment is now $80,000
  • $112,500 for heads of households; the cap is now $120,000
  • $150,000 for joint filers; now capped at $160,000

The structure would slash the direct payment income caps approved by the House. Under the lower chamber’s bill, individuals making up to $100,000 (and joint filers earning up to $200,000) would have received some amount.

The changes come as moderate Senate Democrats call to limit the scope of the checks included in the legislation. To pass the relief bill under budget reconciliation, party leaders cannot lose a single vote among the 50 members of the caucus.

Disagreements within the party could have threatened Democrats’ plans to get the bill through the Senate by this weekend and to Biden’s desk before unemployment aid programs expire on March 14.

The Senate plan is set to keep the same unemployment insurance supplement passed by the House. It would add a $400 per week jobless benefit through Aug. 29.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

— CNBC’s Thomas Franck contributed to this report

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