Child allowances and increase in food stamps are an important part of the project.
Congress is in recess this week, so there will be no significant progress in negotiations on the $1.9 trillion stimulus package pushed by President Joe Biden, although there are important aspects to highlight about the negotiations.
Economist Andres Vinelli, CAP’s Vice President for Economic Policy and author of the report “7 principles that should guide economic relief negotiations,” has highlighted the importance and scope of the plan that would be approved in the next two weeks.
The House of Representatives and the Senate integrate their plans and will have to put the proposals together in order to follow the Budget Reconciliation guidelines, which, among other things, prevent Congressmen from taking the country deeper into long-term debt and imposing non-fiscal changes.
1. Who would not receive money
The rule change on who the $1,400 check should be sent to has been a debate among members of Congress, but some Democrats and Republicans have pushed for only people with maximum annual incomes of $50,000 and couples reporting up to $100,000 combined to receive the money directly.
The House did not include that rule, so the limits remain at $75,000 annual income per person and $150,000 per couple, as well as $112,000 for a person who is head of household.
However, it is intended that the phase-out -passing those income limits- will be more accelerated, but those details have not been disclosed.
2. When it will be approved
There is no exact date for its approval, but the Congressional calendar indicates that the Representatives and Senators will be back in session on February 22.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (California), said last Thursday that as soon as they return to Washington, the proposal endorsed in the Ways and Means Committee will be approved.
That week it would pass to the Senate, where the bill to be merged is also being drafted, so not everything proposed in the House plan could be integrated, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) said he would speed up the approval of the plan.
The deadline to approve the bill is March 14, since that is when the distribution of federal funds approved last December ends.
3. When the check will be sent
Taking the word of members of Congress, such as Speaker Pelosi, and the time it would take President Biden to sign the bill, it is possible that direct funds to Americans would begin to be sent the week of March 8-12, but only direct deposits to bank accounts.
The IRS would begin mailing checks the week of March 15 and debit cards the week of March 22. An additional 15 days must be added to these dates, as this is the average time it would take for them to arrive in the mail.
4. The $3,600 per child
One of the most important changes in the aid package is the fiscal support of up to $3,600 dollars in one year for minors.
The plan calls for sending $3,000 in monthly payments for children under age 6, and $3,600 for children ages 6 to 17.
Experts, such as Chuck Marr, director of Federal Tax Policy, consider that this plan is important for the poorest families, although he supported the bill of Republican Mitt Romney (Utah), which increased the aid up to $4,200 dollars.
Economist Vinelli explained that the benefit is one of the best thought out to help the lowest income people.
“It has been proven that payments that go directly to families with children produce a very healthy effect on children’s health and food security,” he told this newspaper. “There are studies that estimate that such a payment, monthly, would cut child poverty in half, which is a huge amount.”
5. What else it includes
Although the stimulus check is “the star” of the bill, there are several programs that will boost the economy at different levels, since they reinforce support for food (SNAP) and housing, but there will also be fiscal aid to small businesses (stores, restaurants), aid to state and local governments to avoid personnel layoffs and to continue providing services.
Increased resources will also be allocated for the battle against the pandemic (vaccines, screening and testing, and medical services).
Although the House included the $15 per hour wage increase, its integration will depend on respecting the rules in the Senate to approve it with a simple majority.