Ten Republican lawmakers proposed a much smaller coronavirus relief package as an alternative to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan President Joe Biden proposed. In the GOP proposal, the new stimulus check would be just $1,000, or $400 smaller than the one included in Biden's proposal. The qualifications for the new economic impact payment would also be different, meaning the check would go to fewer people. Biden has a scheduled meeting with the Republicans behind the new plan on Monday.
Individuals who earned up to $40,000 per year would be eligible for the full payment, and those who earn between $40,000 and $50,000 per year will receive under $1,000. Anyone earning over $50,000 will not receive a check at all, notes CNBC. Married couples who file jointly would receive a full $2,000 payment if they earn up to $80,000, and less if they earn between $80,000 and $100,000 per year. The check would not be sent to any couple filing jointly and earning over $100,000.
Children and adults listed as a dependent would be eligible for $500, and convicted inmates do not qualify for any check. Prisoners were eligible for the $600 payments distributed after the December relief package passed. The Republican stimulus check plan would cost about $220 billion, taking up a sizeable chunk of the entire $618 billion proposal.
By comparison, Biden's proposed stimulus check plan would cost $465 billion of the $1.9 trillion total cost of the American Rescue Plan. Unlike the new Republican proposal, Biden's plan expanded the number of people eligible for checks compared to the two 2020 payments. It would include dependants of all ages, including college students and older adults excluded in the past, notes CNET. A single taxpayer whose adjusted gross income is up to $103,000 would also be eligible for the $1,400 payment. Of course, the $1,400 payment is still short of the $2,000 Democrats supported in December, but Biden has argued that payments would reach that number if you consider both the $600 December payment and his proposed $1,400 payment.
The group of Republican senators proposing the smaller package sent a letter to Biden asking for a meeting. During Monday's press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would be "happy" to meet with them. "The president has been clear, since long before he came into office, that he is open to engaging with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress about their ideas, and this is an example of doing exactly that," she said, reports CBS News. "What this meeting is not is a forum for the president to make or accept an offer." Psaki added that Biden thinks the risk with the Republican package is "that it is too small."