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House Democrats push new round of stimulus checks in coronavirus bill

House Democrats push new round of stimulus checks in
coronavirus bill 1

WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders are pushing for another round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per person in new coronavirus relief legislation that’s headed for a vote on Friday.

The eligibility criteria are similar to the first round approved in late March, with some changes.

The legislation provides up to $1,200 in payments (or $2,400 for married couples), with an extra $1,200 per dependent for a maximum of three.

The income thresholds are the same as the CARES Act, with money for people making up to $99,000 and couples up to $198,000. The amount starts to reduce from $1,200 after $75,000 and $150,000, respectively, according to the text.

Like the CARES Act, the payments would be based on 2019 tax returns. For those who haven’t filed yet, they would be based on 2018 returns. Seniors who are on Social Security would also get benefits based on information on file, and other non-filers would be able to apply for a payment.

The legislation removes the CARES Act’s requirement of a Social Security number, meaning that immigrants who file returns with a taxpayer identification number (or TIN) can get money.

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The provision is part of the 1,815-page proposal in the legislation that’s headed for a vote in the Democratic-led House on Friday. But its prospects in the Republican-run Senate are far from certain.

Michael Zona, a spokesman for Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the overall legislation “DOA in the Senate,” though he didn’t comment specifically on the stimulus money.

“Sen. Grassley will work with his colleagues on Phase 4 legislation if it becomes necessary,” Zona said in an email. “It’s too early to say what that legislation might encompass. It would need to address any ongoing problems in an effective manner.”

A summary from House Democratic committee leaders said the cash would act as “cushioning the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis with a second round of more substantial economic impact payments.”

The first round of payments provided a lifeline to many people struggling during the pandemic. The new Democratic-led bill comes as the coronavirus continues to ravage the U.S. economy with mass shutdowns that have led to about 33 million Americans out of work and filing for jobless benefits.

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