Bipartisan Senators Push for Stimulus Checks Focused on Lower Income Families

February 6, 2021 Updated: February 6, 2021

An amendment to the budget, sponsored by a bipartisan group of 16 senators led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Mass.), to focus stimulus checks on lower-income families was passed in the Senate on Thursday.

The amendment did not detail the threshold for the stimulus checks but said it would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to targeting economic impact payments to Americans who are suffering from the effects of COVID–19,” and “ensure upper-income taxpayers are not eligible.”

manchin and collins
Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images – Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The amendment was passed with a vote of 58-42. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee voted in favor.

The measure was proposed and passed in a procedure Thursday afternoon that was set up for proposals of any amendments to the budget bill that is still under debate.

White House officials have said they are willing to compromise on the threshold of the income but not the amount on the check.

The amendment was proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (D-La.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Ten Senate Republicans released a $618 billion proposal hours before they met President Biden on Monday evening. Many of those senators are also among the bipartisan group that sponsored the amendment.

One of the most striking differences between Republicans’ plan and Biden’s plan is the size of the stimulus check and the threshold for receiving them.

Biden pushed for $2,000 checks. His plan includes $1,400 checks (on top of the $600 checks in December’s package) for Americans with an income of $75,000 or less, and smaller checks for those with an income of less than $99,000.

The GOP instead offered $1,000 checks to a smaller group of Americans. Instead of phasing out checks for those earning more than $75,000, Republicans would do so for individuals with an income of more than $40,000, and would not go to anybody with an income of more than $50,000.

Some Democrats are looking forward to a new budget plan with stimulus checks of $1,400 directed to people with an income of $50,000 and less and couples with income of 100,000 and less.