New stimulus bill could become law next week. Today’s update and what happens now

March 7, 2021 0 By boss



The House will vote on the amended bill on Tuesday, which means Biden could sign in the middle of the week.

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The nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill could become law by next week. On Saturday, the Senate voted to approve the COVID-19 relief package, with a number of amendments that will affect the total you could receive in a third stimulus check as well as new details for weekly federal unemployment benefits. The Senate will now work with the House to resolve differences between their bills, with the goal of sending the combined legislation to President Joe Biden to sign before next week is over (more below).

The key pieces are set, including revised income limits to a third stimulus check that could start to go out by the end of the month. The change means millions of people won’t qualify for a new check. Unemployment benefits will also change from the initial proposal. Expanded child tax credits to lower-income families and funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution now seem certain as well. 

The federal minimum wage increase to $15 was ousted to pass the bill through the Senate, but proponents vow to reintroduce it at a later date. Here’s what you need to know about the relief bill the Senate just passed, including the timeline to deliver new stimulus checks. This story was updated with new information.

What happens now with the bill?

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House will vote on the Senate’s version of the bill Tuesday (PDF), after voting Monday to proceed, Hoyer said in a statement Saturday. 

What often happens in this case is that the Senate and the House would have to link two different versions of the stimulus bill. They could potentially create a conference committee to negotiate common ground between the two proposals. When the versions have been reconciled, the committee would create a report of changes that the two chambers can agree to, before going to Biden to sign into law.

It isn’t clear at this point if the House would simply vote on the Senate-passed bill as is or if there will be any committee work behind the scenes.

$1,400 third stimulus check will have a strict income cutoff

The $1,400 stimulus check will “target” checks to lower income earners and cut off those categorized as “higher earners.” Under those new eligibility rules, some who qualified for the first two payments may not make the cut for a third. A hard ceiling on income, designed to exclude higher earners from getting a check, would come with a rule change regarding the use of dependents in the stimulus check formula. Check out our stimulus payment calculator to see how that the new Senate income cap could work for you.

The new proposal would give the IRS a deadline of Dec. 31 to finish sending the stimulus checks.

For this third round of payments, congressional Democrats intend to include adult dependents as well as children and families with mixed-status citizenship. Here are all the ways a third check could bring more moneyhow you could get less or be disqualified altogether. Here’s what happens to your total if a check arrives during tax season. And here is how the third check compares with the first two payments.

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Stimulus check No. 3: What you need to know


$300 in weekly unemployment benefits, not $400

Under the Senate Democrats’ plan, federal unemployment checks would extend to Sept. 6 at a $300 weekly rate. The House had initially proposed a $400 weekly payment ending in August. The Senate plan would also reduce the tax burden on the unemployment money for households earning less than $150.000 a year. If the new bill is approved by March 14, it would renew the weekly $300 federal unemployment checks Congress approved in December without a gap in funding.

Senate abandons the minimum wage fight this time

Senate Democrats jettisoned a provision in the relief bill to boost the minimum wage after the Senate parliamentarian, who determines which items can and can’t be included in the bill under a technique known as budget reconciliation, determined the provision fell outside of guidelines. Proponents will look to include the $15 hourly rate in another bill.

“If any Senator believes this is the last time they will cast a vote on whether or not to give a raise to 32 million Americans, they are sorely mistaken,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted March 5. “We’re going to keep bringing it up, and we’re going to get it done because it is what the American people demand and need.”


Democrats want to help students with loan debt.

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Expanded child tax credit would bring thousands of dollars more

The bill would expand the child tax credit that currently allows families to claim up to a $2,000 credit for children under 17 years of age. If approved, the plan would extend the benefit to lower-income families who otherwise wouldn’t receive the credit. Families could claim up to $3,600 per year for a child under 6 and up to $3,000 per year for those between the ages of 6 and 17.

The plan also removes a provision that you have to make $2,500 a year to receive the credit, and makes the credits fully refundable. In addition, it would expand tax credits for one year to help cover the cost of child care. Families could get back as a tax credit as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13, up to $4,000 for a single child and $8,000 for two or more children.


Congress may set aside more money for child tax credits.

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What’s going on with student loan forgiveness?

Although forgiving student loan debt is part of the discussion, Senate Democrats and Biden have different dollar figures in mind for how much to cancel. Biden on Feb. 16 said he supports canceling $10,000 in student debt per borrower and extending the pause on student loan repayment. Biden’s figure is at odds with a Senate Democrat proposal, however, that calls for canceling up to $50,000 in student debt.

“I do think that, in this moment of economic pain and strain, that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, No. 1. And No. 2, I’m prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not $50,000,” Biden said. The House and Senate versions of the bill don’t address student loan debt.

Coronavirus vaccine delivery across the US

More than 96 million vaccine doses have so far been distributed in the US — and more than 75 million administered — with the country on track to meet Biden’s goal of 100 million jabs during the first 100 days of his administration. (April 30 marks his 100th day in office.) In a town hall-style meeting on CNN on Feb. 16, Biden said that by the end of July, the country will have enough supply to vaccinate everyone in the US. The goal then becomes having enough of the other supplies, as well as people, to administer the vaccine.

Biden’s plan would set aside $160 billion for a nationwide vaccine program that would help state and local governments get the vaccine into people’s systems.

Eviction ban extended through September

The new proposal would extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until Sept. 30. The plan would provide $30 billion in rental assistance for renters and small landlords, especially for low- and moderate-income households. On Jan. 20, Biden signed an executive order extending the eviction ban through this month, which means it may not be part of the final new stimulus bill at all.

Funds to help reopen schools during COVID-19

Getting students back on campus is a critical piece of the economic recovery. The bill would work to return students to schools by having a majority of kindergarten to eighth-grade classrooms safely reopen in the first 100 days of the administration.

Additional money for state, local and tribal governments

Since the fall, economists have pushed for Congress to provide funding for state and local public jobs. “The case for additional aid is strong because the downside risk of doing nothing is quite real,” the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said at the end of last year. “The fact that over 1 million state and local government workers have lost their jobs is a sign that fiscal distress has had real consequences.” In addition to state and local funding, the bill would provide funds for food and water assistance, and food stamps.

For more information about stimulus money, here are the top facts you need to know about stimulus checks, how to calculate the size of your check and how your dependents could figure into your payment.


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