Congress is expected to approve another round of stimulus checks to most Americans in March -- here’s what you need to know.
The House passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package early Saturday, 219-212, that includes $1,400 checks for most Americans and billions of dollars for schools, state and local governments and businesses.
Republicans are overwhelmingly against the bill, raising concerns that the spending is vastly more than necessary and designed to advance policy priorities that go beyond helping Americans get through the pandemic. Democrats and President Joe Biden counter that a robust aid package is necessary to prevent a long and painful recovery from the pandemic.
Related: Michigan Democrats call for federal COVID relief funds to be released immediately
Who is eligible for $1,400 stimulus checks?
The legislation provides a rebate that amounts to $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000.
The size of the check would shrink for those making slightly more with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples, according to changes agreed to by President Biden and Senate Democrats.
Under current law, most taxpayers can reduce their federal income tax bill by up to $2,000 per child. The package moving through the House would increase the tax break to $3,000 for every child age 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under the age of 6.
The legislation also calls for the payments to be delivered monthly instead of in one lump sum. If the secretary of the Treasury determines that isn’t feasible, then the payments are to be made as frequently as possible.
Also, families would get the full credit regardless of how little they make in a year, even just a few hundred dollars, leading to criticism that the changes would serve as a disincentive to work. Add in the $1,400 per individual checks and other items in the proposal, and the legislation would reduce the number of children living in poverty by more than half, according to an analysis from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.
When could Americans start seeing payments?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated a goal of getting the legislation to Joe Biden’s desk by March 14. The Senate could hold a final vote this weekend or early next week.
Based on the IRS timeframe from the last round of payments, payments could begin within a few days of passage. So if the bill were signed by the end of next week (March 12), payments should begin by March 17 or so. The IRS has not confirmed a timeline and won’t until the legislation is signed into law.
You will receive payments quicker if you’re set up for direct deposit with the IRS. Checks would likely be issued a few days later.
Read more: Highlights of the COVID-19 relief bill advancing in Congress