It’s been a strange and confusing week for those paying attention to the upcoming COVID Economic Impact payments. Is it $600 a person, $2,000 a person? Why is it taking as long as it has, who’s responsible? Why is Trump promoting Bernie Sanders? Let us break it down for you.
Earlier in the month, a bill was drafted, costing about $900 billion for various aid and relief, including a $600 payment to all American citizens that make under $75,000 a year. This is similar to, but less than, the first economic impact payment we saw earlier this year under the CARES act. It was set to pass until, on December 21, president Trump disagreed with the bill, saying that there was too much extra stuff on the bill and that Americans should be given $2,000 each, not $600.
In response to this, the House of Representatives held a vote to increase the payment amount to $2,000. It passed with a sizable lead. It was then sent to the Senate, but the bill was blocked by republican majority leader Mitch McConnell. This sparked the frustration of democratic and republican citizens alike, who are convinced that McConnell is not working in the interests of the American people.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Senator Bernie Sanders is now threatening to filibuster the Senate if McConnell doesn’t allow the full senate to vote on the relief payment increase. The Senate has a large defense spending bill to vote on, which would grant additional money to the Military. Sanders has, indirectly, threatened to delay the vote on this defense bill until after New Years day. The speculated intention is to “ruin” any plans that the senate republicans had for New Years by keeping them in Washington for the defense bill vote. It will also put tremendous pressure on Georgia senators, who will be subject to a voting runoff happening later this week.
McConnell’s response to this was then to offer an addendum: raise the checks to $2,000, but also include a “poison pill” of sorts. The bill would also repeal a previous legislation protecting tech companies from being held liable for the user’s behavior. In short: if that was repealed, places like Twitter and Facebook could be held legally responsible for anyone posting on those sites. Many consider this move to be a huge blow to freedom of speech, since many sites would sooner remove themselves than be subject to legal action to this degree. As you might guess, the democratic side did not agree.
As of writing, the Senate has not come to an agreement about the check increase or the defense bill.
Why are people saying they’re getting their checks then?
Because they are. The original $600 relief bill was accepted. The part that needed to be accepted by the senate was the increase to $2,000. Since that’s been stalemated right now, Americans are receiving the original intended $600.
Since the CARES act already paved the pay for distributing these payments, you can expect to see them sooner than the first time, the same way as the first time. For most people, this will be a direct deposit into whatever bank account is connected to their tax returns.
Anyone individuals that make less than $75,000 a year will qualify for the relief check. If it’s a couple, they will receive $1,200 if they make less than $150,000 combined. You will also receive an additional $600 for every dependent you claimed. The more you make over those numbers, the less you get, at the rate of $50 for each $1,000 above the limit. So individuals making over $87,000 will get nothing, with variable amounts below that.
You can get more info about the relief payment on the IRS website.
There is still a possibility that the $2,000 will be voted and accepted. If that does happen, it’ll likely result in an additional $1,400 being sent to qualifying citizens.
This entire situation is a good example of the current flaws with our government system. The fact that a single senator from Kentucky has the power to block any bill that tries to reach the senate is a terrible display of power abuse. This is a power that McConnell has abused for years, blocking anything that does not work directly in his favor. Regardless of where you align on politics, no one should support people like McConnell.