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House gives initial green light to stimulus, questions on checks still swirling

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Posted at 10:40 PM, Feb 03, 2021

After the Senate voted on Tuesday by a 50-49 margin to move forward with a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, House Democrats on Wednesday were able to narrowly pass a non-binding resolution to signal its support.

The vote passed by a 218-212 margin with no House Republicans joining the Democrats in support of the stimulus resolution.

With the resolutions passed, the final stimulus bill can pass with just simple majorities in the House and Senate. Generally, bills in the Senate require 60 votes to call for a vote, but using the budget reconciliation process will allow Senate Democrats to bypass the filibuster.

Meanwhile, there is still debate on several issues. Most notably, who exactly gets a full stimulus check.

While Democrats have been pitching $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals who made less than $75,000 in 2019 ($150,000 for couples filing jointly), the Washington Post reported that Democrats are now considering lowering the threshold to $50,000 for individuals ($100,000 for couples). The $75,000 threshold was used for the previous two stimulus checks.

The Washington Post reports that parents would be eligible for an additional $1,400 for each child under age 17 in their home.

In President Joe Biden’s America Rescue Plan released on Jan. 20, he did not stipulate the threshold for who should get payments.

Biden said on Wednesday he was open to a more targeted stimulus check.

“I think we can better target the number, I'm okay with that,” Biden said. “But we're gonna start-I'm not gonna start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people."

On Monday, Biden met with 10 Republican senators who were hoping Biden would consider a much smaller, more targeted proposal. The Republicans’ offer costs one-third what the Democrats’ proposal totals.

The White House’s response to the Republicans’ bid was there is greater risk in doing too little than doing too much, despite the price tag.

The 10 Republicans want to cap $1,000 stimulus checks for those making $40,000 per year.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, one of the GOP senators who met with Biden, suggested Wednesday if Biden keeps the price tag at $1.9 trillion, it will not have any GOP support.

“Well if President Biden works with Republicans, and we make some modifications to his plan, it's entirely possible that there would be some Republican support,” Romney said. “But if it goes forward without any changes from what was originally proposed, I would predict that not a single Republican will support the $1.9 trillion dollar plan.”

Democrats are also calling on $400 unemployment supplements through the end of September. The supplements are in addition to state benefits.

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk.Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.