Schumer says $2,000 checks a priority for new Senate

‘Help is on the way’

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., arrives to speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, before his meeting with Transportation Secretary-designate Pete Buttigieg. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Susan Walsh, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said getting $2,000 relief checks for Americans will be a priority for the new Senate in 2021.

“One of the first things that I want to do when our new Senators are seated is deliver $2,000 checks to the American families,” he said Wednesday. “Senate Democrats know Americans are hurting. Help is on the way. And we have two new Senators coming to help.”

The two new Senators are both Georgia Democrats who ran in runoff elections held Tuesday. Democrat Raphael Warnock became the first Black senator in his state’s history on Wednesday morning, putting the Senate majority within the party’s reach.

The second Georgia runoff race is between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. That contest was too early to call as votes were still being counted Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the second, smaller round of stimulus checks are due to most Americans after President Trump signed off on a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill in December.

Trump had pressured lawmakers to approve $2,000 checks. House Democrats gladly added an amendment to their relief package, but it was denied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

McConnell will now lose control of the Senate once Ossoff’s win is finalized.

Who is eligible for the $600 checks?

You need a Social Security number to qualify for a relief check. Individuals earning up to $75,000, and couples earning up to $150,000 will receive the full amount. After that, the amount of the check then decreases by $5 for every $100 of income above those thresholds, phasing out completely at $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.

Income is based on 2019 tax returns.

Dependents under age 17 are also eligible for $600 checks, and there’s no cap on the number a household can receive. So if a single person earned $50,000 in 2019 and has four children under 17, the individual will be eligible for a $3,000 payment.

The biggest eligibility change involves households where one or more people has a Social Security number while another member or members do not. In the CARES Act, such households were entirely barred from receiving payments. Now, payments will be sent to every eligible member of such households — those with Social Security numbers.

Read more: IRS relaunches ‘Get My Payment’ tool to track $600 stimulus checks