Third stimulus check – House lawmakers clear way for $1,400 payments in Covid relief bill

HOUSE lawmakers on Thursday advanced part of the coronavirus relief bill that includes a third round of stimulus checks providing up to $1,400 per person.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a tax-related portion of President Joe Biden’s $1.9trillion proposal on a 24-18 vote along party lines.

The measure totals $593.5billion in benefits, the majority of which goes toward the third stimulus checks, as well as advance tax credits for children to be sent monthly, according to Bloomberg.

Direct payments of $1,400 would go to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 checks would go to couples making up to $150,000. 

After those thresholds, the amounts would phase out up to individuals making more than $100,000 annually and couples earning more than $200,000, who would be ineligible. 

“The $600 rebates that Congress delivered in December didn’t do enough,” Democratic Rep Suzan DelBene said during the committee meeting, referring to the second round of stimulus checks.

“This is critical relief to help families weather this crisis.”

However, some GOP members criticized the $1,400 stimulus checks. 

Republican Rep Adrian Smith said the proposed direct payments are “expensive and not at all targeted.”

Smith added that the legislation “seems to use Covid-19 as an excuse to enact the wish list of Democratic priorities which pre-date the pandemic entirely.” 

An example of a Democratic priority, according to Smith, is the provision for the child tax credit expansion.

The measure expands the child tax credit for 2021, from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under six years old and $3,000 for children over that age. 

Rep Terri Sewell said the measure would “dramatically reduce child poverty and improve the livelihoods of millions of low-income families.”

The Ways and Means panel is one of a dozen House committees working on different aspects of the relief package. 

Committees aim to finish their work on Friday.

The full House is expected to vote on the overall relief package on the week of February 22. 

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