Democrats and Republicans Collide Over Stimulus Checks

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Peter Sloniewsky, Staff Writer

While the majority of the federal government agrees that a third round of stimulus checks is necessary for middle-class and low-income Americans, the ongoing debate between Democrats and Republicans circles around who should be eligible for the $1400 checks.  

Congressional Democrats are moving forward through budget reconciliation (which would allow the bill passage without Republican support). However, the Senate’s bipartisan plan, approved February 4, only blocks “upper-income citizens” from the stimulus checks, without a formal definition of “upper income.”  

According to chief US economist at Capital Economics Paul Ashworth, the amendment adds uncertainty to Senate Democrats’ approval of Pres. Biden’s full plan, with some, such as Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressing doubts about the need to send $1400 to people who don’t need the money.

The stimulus package is undoubtedly required for the nation.  While the US economy continues to struggle with high unemployment, economic data released February 17 said that the second round of checks is working, with retail sales jumping 5.3% in the month of January — five times higher than expected.  While Republican support isn’t required for the bill to pass, Congress still must determine the income threshold for stimulus check eligibility.