Senate Democrats’ plan to curb eligibility for third stimulus check cuts off 12 million adults

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Should the income limits for stimulus payments be lowered? Email money reporter Alicia Adamczyk at alicia.adamczyk@nbcuni.com to voice your opinion.

During Senate negotiations on Wednesday over who will be eligible for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks, President Joe Biden reportedly signaled he would support a new plan that would stop about 12 million adults from receiving a payment, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. 

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In the $1.9 trillion relief package under debate, the federal government is set to pay out $1,400 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 and $2,800 to couples earning less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI). In the House version of the legislation passed on Saturday, stimulus payments would begin to phase out after those thresholds, stopping completely for individuals making $100,000 or more and couples earning $200,000 or more. 

But some Senate Democrats have proposed limiting the scope of the third round of stimulus by phasing out payments completely for individuals earning more than $80,000 and couples earning more than $160,000. 

The new income caps would mean that 11.8 million fewer adults and 4.6 million fewer kids would receive a third stimulus payment, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy calculates.

"That being said, for most people it does not make a difference and it basically makes no difference for the bottom 60% of Americans, the folks who really need help," says Steve Wamhoff, ITEP's director of federal tax policy. 

Overall, about 280 million Americans would still be eligible for stimulus payments, ITEP calculates.

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