House Progressives Halt Attempts to Alter Income Thresholds for Coronavirus Relief Checks

US Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, speaks at George Washington University in Washington, DC, on September 24, 2020. - Sanders warned that the US faces an "unprecedented and dangerous moment," as US President Donald Trump questions the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and suggests he might not accepts the election …
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Progressives celebrated on Tuesday, announcing they successfully blocked attempts to alter eligibility thresholds for future coronavirus relief payments.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) praised House progressives for fighting against attempts to alter the eligibility threshold for future coronavirus relief payments. The debate has bubbled in the upper chamber, particularly among centrist Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who reportedly supported reducing eligibility for full payments at $50,000 for individuals rather than $75,000, which stood as the threshold in the last relief measure.

“Congratulations to the House Leadership and the Progressive Caucus. It is absurd to create an income eligibility cap that would mean 40 million Americans who got support under Trump wouldn’t get checks under Biden. Let’s get this done,” he said:

The news follows Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA) “nonstop” conversations with the White House over calls to alter the eligibility threshold in the next coronavirus relief proposal. The Biden White House signaled that it remained open to altering the threshold to prevent higher-income earners from getting the full amount of the $1,400 check. Some Democrats, while supporting the prospect of reducing eligibility, have not uttered a specific income amount. According to the Washington Post, modifying the threshold for reduced payments from $75,000 to $50,000 would reduce the percentage of Americans receiving the full check from 85 percent to 71 percent.

“There’s a discussion right now about what that threshold will look like,” White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki said during Monday’s press briefing. “A conclusion hasn’t been finalized; that will be worked through Congress.”

“But either way, his bottom line is that families making $275,000, $300,000 a year may not be the most in need of checks at this point in time,” she said. “But whatever the threshold is, there will be a scale up.”

President Biden said he supports the measure leaving the income threshold as is, providing full checks to individuals making up to $75,000.

“Individuals making up to $100,000 a year and joint filers making up to $200,000 a year will be eligible for a limited stimulus payment before a complete phaseout of income levels above that,” Forbes reported.

The House Education and Labor Committee also approved of the portion of Biden’s proposal raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour nationally:

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