Democratic lawmakers are divided at the moment over how much assistance money to give struggling Americans during this economic downturn mostly due to the nearly year long coronavirus pandemic. Senator Bernie Sanders (D. VT), however, thinks it’s a poor argument and has pretty much had enough.
Sanders explained his frustration in a tweet:
“Unbelievable. There are some Dems who want to lower the income eligibility for direct payments from $75,000 to $50,000 for individuals, and $150,000 to $100,000 for couples. In other words, working class people who got checks from Trump would not get them from Biden. Brilliant!”
Sanders is not alone, with Senator Ron Wyden (D. OR), the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee, echoing with support.
The other side of the argument is being led by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senator Susan Collins, who are trying to keep payments from what they call “high-earning” families. Manchin offered his explanation last week:
“An individual of $40,000 income or $50,000 income would receive it. And a family who is making $80,000 or $100,000, not to exceed $100,000, would receive it. Anything over that would not be eligible, because they are the people who really are hurting right now and need the help the most.”
Sanders argues that the gap in Manchin’s plan, people earning between $50,000 and $80,000, includes a lot of people who got two checks from the Trump administration’s relief efforts last year and are likely counting on the third one.
Wyden also echoed this point: “I understand the desire to ensure those most in need receive checks, but families who received the first two checks will be counting on a third check to pay the bills.”
According to newly appointed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as well, that $50,000 threshold likely isn’t going to fly. She said on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend that those earning $60,000 a year should be eligible for the payments as well:
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“If you think about an elementary school teacher or a policeman making $60,000 a year and faced with children who are out of school and people who may have had to withdraw from the labor force in order to take care of them and many extra burdens, [President Joe Biden] thinks, and I would certainly agree, that it’s appropriate for people there to get support.”