Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed back against centrist Democrats aiming to lower the income cap for the next round of stimulus checks from $75,000 to $50,000, CNBC reports.
Though Democrats passed a budget measure that will allow them to pass any coronavirus relief bill with a simple majority, centrists like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have called for the stimulus checks to be more “targeted” to those in need after some analyses showed that many recipients put their earlier checks into their savings accounts.
While President Joe Biden’s proposal, like previous bills, set the income cap at $75,000 to receive a full payment, Manchin and others are pushing to reduce the cap to $50,000 per individual and $100,000 per couple.
A single Democratic defection could doom the entire proposal.
Sanders pushes back:
Sanders told CNN that he supports a strong income cutoff “so it doesn’t kind of spill over to people making $300,000 a year” but opposed cutting the cap to $50,000.
“To say to a worker in Vermont or California or any place else, that if you’re making, you know, $52,000 a year, you are too rich to get this help, the full benefit, I think that that’s absurd,” said Sanders, who heads the Senate Budget Committee.
Sanders blasted the plan on Twitter, noting that millions of working-class people who received full checks under Trump would not get them under Biden.
"I strongly oppose lowering income eligibility for direct payments from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals and $150,000 to $100,000 for couples," he wrote. "In these difficult times, ALL working class people deserve the full $1,400."
Yellen eyes $60K compromise:
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN that she is eyeing an income cap of $60,000 to start phasing out payments.
"If you think about an elementary school teacher or a policeman making $60,000 a year and faced with children who are out of school and people who may have had to withdraw from the labor force in order to take care of them and many extra burdens, [President Biden] thinks, and I would certainly agree, that it's appropriate for people there to get support," she said.
Yellen said the White House would continue to negotiate with Congress "to define what's fair."
"I think the details can be worked out. And the president is certainly willing to work with Congress to find a good structure for these payments,” she said.