Biden Compromises on Stimulus Checks

If you were counting on a $1,400. stimulus check, you might be disappointed. If you are single and made more than $80,000 or filed jointly and earned more than $160,000 you will get zilch, according to a compromise Joe Biden agreed to today.

Under the new proposal blessed by Mr. Biden, individuals earning more than $80,000 and households with incomes exceeding $160,000 would be disqualified from receiving stimulus checks. The caps are $20,000 lower than they were in the last round, wiping out payments for millions of Americans.

The plan would send $1,400 checks to individuals earning up to $75,000, single parents with children earning $112,500 and couples making $150,000, with the amount gradually falling for people with larger incomes.

Between 8 and 12 million people who received past stimulus checks are expected not to received this new round. [More...]

Eight million people who would have received payments under the House bill would lose them under the Senate plan, according to a rough estimate from Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.....Another estimate said roughly 12 million people could lose checks due to the policy change.

Moderate Democrats support the change because the Democrats will need every vote just to get the bill passed. Is there a Democrat who said they would vote against the bill if the higher house limits were included?

I'm not suprised because Joe Biden is a man of compromise. He's had more than 40 years practice at it.

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    As Long as (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jmacWA on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 04:29:11 AM EST
    this is not a foretaste of compromises to come I think I am OK with this 80K for and individual or 160K for a couple is not really struggling.  

    It was a stupid political move (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 07:47:54 AM EST
    Eight million people who got TRUMP checks will not get BIDEN checks. Eight million reasons why Manchin forced Biden to tick off voters was politically stupid.

    Stupid (none / 0) (#6)
    by FlJoe on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 09:39:10 AM EST
    yes, but the long term political damage will probably be limited, especially after the upcoming "nothing for nobody" tantrum the Republicans are going to stage.

    Quickly clearing Manchin and any other Democratic doubters off the stage will put the full spotlight on the Republican obstructionism, which should have political benefit.


    Manchin even undermines his (none / 0) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 10:02:58 AM EST
    targeted payments to people who need them meme by pushing to reduce the unemployment from $400 to $300. Luckily, that demand was not met.

    Conservative Dems will go a long way in preventing the Dems from maintaining majorities. New gerrymandering, which could be prevented by House legislation, has a great chance of flipping the House to the Republicans.

    Much like Lieberman before him, Manchin will prevent popular bills from becoming law.


    I (none / 0) (#8)
    by FlJoe on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 10:38:14 AM EST
    am not defending Manchin but throwing him the smallest bone possible to get him to shut up is not terrible politics.

    In many districts and many states (none / 0) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 11:01:35 AM EST
    elections will be won or lost by the slimmest margins. Dems really don't need to lose any voters. The Dems have won slim margins by increased support in the suburbs. Voters in the suburbs will be the people who are being left out of receiving checks. One of the strongest negative reactions from people is "they gave those people" something that they wouldn't give me.

    They threw him a bone (none / 0) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 09:54:11 AM EST
    now he is going for meat. He is signaling that he and other conservative Dems will vote with Republicans to reduce the unemployment benefit to $300.

    Would someone please explain to me what the political benefit of doing this is to the Democratic Party. Also, it sure isn't targeting the money to people who need it.


    A new agreement (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 01:03:33 PM EST
    was, apparently, made at the request of both progressives and moderates, according to reporting.

    The revised benefit would offer $300 in weekly added unemployment, instead of the $400 in the initial proposal--Currently, the federal government is providing $300 in addition to the weekly state benefits, so this is a continuation of the status quo.

    However, the $300 payments would now run for another month, until the end of September, which takes the benefit beyond the August recess when benefits expire under the House passed bill.

    Moreover, as sought by progressives, the proposal would waive federal taxes on the first $10,200 of jobless benefits received in 2020, in order to cut down on surprise tax liability for the unemployed, since some states do not give an option to withhold taxes. The longer duration and the tax breaks seem to be a reasonable trade off. And, this remains a really good bill.


    Latest information is (none / 0) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 01:49:07 PM EST
    That Manchin is not on board with that compromise.

    Latest information (none / 0) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 01:57:46 PM EST
    But West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin -- the Democrats' crucial 50th vote -- does not yet support the plan, but has been supportive of a Republican proposal to extend $300-a-week federal benefits through July.
    Progress on the overall bill paused Friday afternoon as senators negotiated the issue.


    The process has ground to a complete halt due to Manchin's wish to vote with the Republicans.


    The Republican plan that (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 02:13:51 PM EST
    Manchin favors also does not include the tax break on the UE benefits. Tax breaks are restricted to corporations and the very wealthy.

    What an (none / 0) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 02:27:28 PM EST
    abuse of his new found "power".  You would have thought he could have worked out whatever he wanted before this final point.  But, the the drama of siding with the Republican to make life more miserable for the unemployed must be the calculation he has made to look good back in West Virginia.

    Evidently, his enjoyment in (none / 0) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 02:55:58 PM EST
    publicly flexing his political powers and  sticking it to the Dems is much more important to him than helping the unemployed in his state and across the nation.

    Manchin being rewarded for his stunt (none / 0) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 06:49:53 PM EST
    The UI tax break is important (none / 0) (#29)
    by Towanda on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 05:09:50 AM EST
    for a lot of people on the edge who were going to get hit with taxes on money they had to spend to survive, with nothing left.

    Yes, some of us will not get a "Biden check."

    But better that than the hit to the jobless being the "Biden tax."


    Another tax break added to bill (none / 0) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 08:14:10 AM EST
    My college (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 04:00:05 PM EST
    freshman son has to pay a huge tax. The tax rate is like 37% on scholarships. This was apparently done in the Trump tax reform.

    There has to be more to it than that (none / 0) (#35)
    by Peter G on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 04:32:01 PM EST
    What you wrote does not sound correct to me. Another take on it, with more detail, but not basically different.

    All I can tell you (none / 0) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 06:47:00 AM EST
    is that we got forms that we had to put in Turbo Tax and claim as income. We got a 1098 T from the university that showed how much was allowable and everything else was taxed at 37%. I got the 37% from a MSN article. I don't know that he is paying 37% in total but he has a large tax bill that we are going to pay for him.

    37% (none / 0) (#45)
    by BGinCA on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 01:04:00 PM EST
    marginal tax rate is for incomes over $518k. Is he really in that bracket?

    Possible explanation (none / 0) (#46)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 02:29:57 PM EST
    Scholarships used to pay for tuition and textbooks are tax-free, but scholarships used to pay for other expenses, such as room and board, are treated as taxable income to the recipient. A change in the Kiddie Tax enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, however, triples the tax rates on such scholarships.
    For example, a student with a $15,000 college scholarship for room and board might have to pay $3,936.50 in taxes on the scholarship under the new Kiddie Tax, up from $1,500 under the old Kiddie Tax. The family must pay more than a quarter of the scholarship amount in taxes.


    The tax rates on ordinary income and short-term capital gains for estates and trusts for amounts of $12,500 or more is 37%.


    Thank (none / 0) (#47)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 05:32:18 PM EST
    you yes, that is the issue. Anything that comes out of a 529 account is also declared as income.

    ok, yes, that makes sense then (none / 0) (#49)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 08:19:54 PM EST
    And it's entirely  consistent with the links I provided. You just said "scholarship," which I understood to mean mostly a tuition break. I didn't realize it was subsidizing room and board. The links made that distinction, if you followed them.  As for 529's, that also makes sense. Money that you protect from tax up front (like 529s or IRAs or SEPs) is then taxable later, when you pull it out and use it. The tax is deferred; it's not like the money was non-taxable in the first place, the way gifts are.

    Does someone making $80K (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 08:03:07 AM EST
    a year and has not missed a paycheck need a stimulus check? I have been working from home since Feb. 2020. I haven't missed a single paycheck due to the pandemic. I didn't "need" the first stimulus. I used most of it to pay the IRS for 2019. They didn't send me the second stimulus so I'm taking a tax credit.

    I would like to see more targeted use of this money. Definitely for unemployed people. Get money to the people who actually lost their jobs because of COVID. Get it to restaurants and small business that had to close their doors or severely cutback. I have no problem providing guaranteed income to people who lost their livelihood due to COVID. Help them to get back on their feet and back to work.

    If you are a person who kept working through the pandemic, why do you need stimulus help?

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 08:19:10 AM EST
    There is so much need.  The idea of giving money to people who don't need it so they don't feel left out is nuts.

    Also I think it's a silly argument that these people over the income cutoff will automatically vote for a Republican next time.  


    Chris Hayes nails it (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 08:05:38 AM EST
    Around 12 million fewer adults and 5 million fewer kids would get the stimulus payments under the new Biden Senate compromise, according to preliminary estimates. A lot of those adults are voters who will now get less in direct cash assistance from President Biden than they did from Donald Trump. Why would Democratic Senators, like Joe Manchin, and Jean Shaheen push for this to happen? Cut Joe Manchin a ton of slack. The guy got re-elected in West Virginia, trumpiest state in the union. But explain this one to me?"

    Chris Hayes Blasts Joe Manchin For Meddling With the Wildly Popular Stimulus Plan

    Great optics (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 04:24:04 PM EST
    `Marie Antoinette' trends after video of Sen. Sinema giving thumbs down to $15 minimum wage vote goes viral

    It wasn't enough for Sinema to vote no on the $15.00 minimum wage. She decided it would be great optics to go before the  Senate dias to visibility give it a "thumbs down," followed by a jaunty little dance step. Keeping people in poverty seems to make Sinema do a happy dance. A little too cute by half.

    Some politicians are too stupid to govern and I would put Sinema in that category.

    Is there (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 05:37:19 PM EST
    something wrong with her?

    So, that AK Senator went home (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 05:57:41 PM EST
    for some family emergency so republicans are one short.   Does that mean they could pass it without him?

    Manchin (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 05:58:08 PM EST
    I mean.

    Manchin is (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 07:25:43 PM EST
    Now going along with the agreement.  The bill will pass.

    Seriously (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 07:41:28 PM EST
    "Senate Democratic leaders reached an agreement over unemployment benefits with moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) late Friday, ending a nine-hour stand-off that threatened to derail action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill," the Washington Post reports.

    "The agreement would extend the existing $300 weekly unemployment benefit through Sept. 6, as well as provide tax relief on benefits for households making under $150,000."

    New York Times: "The agreement came after a nine-hour impasse that paralyzed efforts to move Mr. Biden's stimulus bill through the Senate, after Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia raised concerns that an overly generous benefit could discourage people from returning to work."

    Those lazy parasites.  They are so afraid someone get a free lunch.

    If this is what his constituents want they must be donors.


    They would rather thousands starve (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 09:00:01 PM EST
    rather than one person get a penny more than they need.

    It took over nine hours to come up with another way to make it fit better with the Republican meme that Manchin favors.

    Manchin will soon be lumped with Holy Joe in Senators who fk up everything as much as possible for no good reason.


    Maybe now that he has marked his territory (none / 0) (#38)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 10:14:21 AM EST
    we can get on with it.

    Sen. Joe Manchin told NBC News "that he won't bend in his support for the filibuster, a Senate rule that forces most legislation to require bipartisan support to pass."

    "But he added that he would be open to Democrats passing more important legislation like voting reforms by a party-line vote -- if senators are given ample space for bipartisan negotiation first."

    He also said that he was "willing to look at" ideas to make the filibuster "a little bit more painful," like requiring lawmakers to take to the floor for marathon speeches if they wanted to use the procedure.


    I (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by FlJoe on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 11:16:22 AM EST
    have my doubts, I thought the limit on the direct stimulus check was going to be his "bone" but no he wanted more.

    Manchin is a wanna be prima-donna, the Senate is full of them on both sides the aisle. He has gone from being a relative back bencher to being "the most interesting man in DC", no way he gives that up.

    Manchin has all but declared himself a one man veto point for anything to pass into law. Proving once again the US Senate is a complete joke.


    All true (none / 0) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 11:19:05 AM EST
    They brought back earmarks for a reason.  

    As far as the filibuster (none / 0) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 11:22:34 AM EST
    it was never intended to be used the way it's commonly used today.  The stuff Ornstein is talking about is turning it back into what it was meant to be.

    Mr Smith goes to Washington.  


    Norm Ornstein (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 10:17:11 AM EST
    More recent (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 10:18:53 AM EST
    There is (none / 0) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 08:44:45 PM EST
    a growing body of research that indicates that enhanced unemployment benefits, such as in the CARES Act, does not serve as a disincentive to returning to work. The major factor in return to work decisions is the availability of jobs.

    And, the enhanced benefits staved off poverty and the spending of the benefits served as a stimulus to the economy by keeping businesses operating. And providing jobs.

    The notion that the recipients of the benefits would rather just stay home and collect unemployment is classic Republicanism. Heard this line today from a neighbor who claimed her employees are not coming back to work, but more discussion revealed that was a thought not a reality.  That same neighbor is awash in federal benefits available to her manufacturing enterprise.  


    It just passed (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 11:18:47 AM EST
    party line.

    Biden's desk next week.

    Great news (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 11:38:35 AM EST
    Final vote 50 to 49. Watched the vote count. With the Senator from Alaska not there it was passed without VP Harris casting the tie breaking vote.

    The senate's amended (none / 0) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Sat Mar 06, 2021 at 12:57:23 PM EST
    version will be voted on by the House on Tuesday and then on  to the President for his signature.

    Biden seems (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Mar 11, 2021 at 01:44:06 PM EST
    to have learned at least some lessons from the Obama years.  They didn't try too hard to get Republican votes and they plan an aggressive promotion of the Rescue Act.

    I always thought it was a massive mistake that they did almost nothing to promote ObamaCare.  Just assuming it would justify itself.  Which it did after democrats got creamed for years.

    And what they did, like the website, was a disaster.  I absolutely think making people understand what you did fir them is as important as doing it.

    Rule (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by FlJoe on Thu Mar 11, 2021 at 03:53:34 PM EST
    number one: Don't negotiate with terrorists.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#51)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 11, 2021 at 03:18:40 PM EST
    and, this new progressive law turns the Republican ideology, such as it is, into their existential threat.  The horse they have been riding for the past forty years has been wearing the feedbag of Ronald Reagan---government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.

    Government helping citizens such as taking many children out of poverty, rakes up the fears of those reactionaries that came before them when FDR's programs helped to take so many old -timers out of poverty.   Does not bode well for their electoral prospects, leaving them to ranting about the gender of plastic dolls and new and improved methods of voter suppression.  The former is silly, the later is serious, it is their best bet.


    Selling it (none / 0) (#53)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Mar 12, 2021 at 07:36:36 AM EST
    "The Democratic National Committee, in cooperation with the Biden White House, will kick off a sweeping effort to sell the newly signed Covid-19 relief package to a politically divided American people on Friday, releasing a new national ad bragging about the bill along with a detailed guide on how Democrats across the country should tout the legislation," CNN reports.

    "The multi-prong effort is aimed at turning the bill into something Democrats can run on, not run away from, in the coming years, including in the politically critical 2022 midterms."

    I truly hope they can sell it (none / 0) (#54)
    by jmacWA on Fri Mar 12, 2021 at 03:05:47 PM EST
    BUT... I will predict that EVERY GOP candidate in 2022 will be running on the Trump stimulus checks went to more people than Biden's.

    I really don't have a problem with the new lower limits, but IMO the mistake was giving in to Manchin got it passed, but it also gave the GOP 2022 ammo that cannot be disputed.


    It is understandable (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 02:06:13 PM EST
    that President Biden agreed to the change given the reality of the senate makeup and the critical importance of passing the substance of the bill into law. However, seems to me to be bad politics and risky governance in the sense  that the nation is still at a critical juncture.

    The Covid virus pandemic and its economic fallout are ongoing.

    A coup against democracy recently failed and its ring leader continues, in effect, to proclaim himself  the real president. There can be no half-measures. Battling a raging house fire is no time for the fire department to decide to conserve water.

    The direct checks were a popular campaign promise and figured into the two senate wins in Georgia, given the senate to the Democrats.

     While there will be some who were left out earlier and will now get a check this time (dependents ages 27 and up, and US citizen spouses and children of undocumented immigrants) it is basic political competence not to  hand an issue so glaringly apparent to the insurrectionist political party.

    The amount of money is not a great factor in a $1.9 trillion bill. So, this does not seem to be a spending issue so much as a means test to make sure someone does not get something they do not deserve, according to somebody. The tax code can always claw back the money if it makes some feel better. If a spending problem,  equivalent cuts could be made to allocations to states.

    All of these risks, however, will be worth it, if Biden has negotiated with Manchin and Sinema, for  their support for minimum wage increases and for HR 1, the House bill that passed on voting rights. At least, for a narrow filibuster exclusion for voting rights.  Can't figure out the New Hampshire senator.

    If Biden negotiated approval (none / 0) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2021 at 02:35:21 PM EST
    With the conservative Dems for a narrow filibuster for voting rights or another Dem priority, the compromise will be well worth it. Although, I do not see Manchin agreeing to even a narrow filibuster. Otherwise, I see no political benefit from the reduction in the range of stimulus payments.

    Apparently (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 04:19:41 PM EST
    Manchin's constituents want it that way.

    I doubt that the poor and unemployed (none / 0) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 05, 2021 at 04:28:16 PM EST
    in his state are beating down his doors begging him to make sure they receive as little money as possible.

    Even the Republican Governor of West Virginia came out in support of the bill.


    Manchin's constituents (none / 0) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 11:05:42 AM EST
    Well, the (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Mar 07, 2021 at 05:33:33 PM EST
    other senator does not support $15 an hour either. So the residents of WV need to be burning up the telephone lines to both senators if they want 15 an hour.