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Stimulus bill now taking shape: Every important thing happening, including $1,400 check

   February 14, 2021 7:51 PM
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by Clifford Colby

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ECONOMY Stimulus bill
 
Congress is pushing ahead on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package with $1,400 payments. Here's what you need to know on where the bill stands now.

House Democrats weren't waiting for their Senate colleagues to conclude the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump to hammer out the details of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic relief and stimulus package. "I am so proud of our members who are busy at work organizing their committees to get ready for our bill that we anticipate will become law as soon as possible," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week, saying the goal is to have the legislation "on the president's desk" for Joe Biden to sign into law by March 14. (Here's how soon new stimulus checks could arrive.)

The House of Representatives will continue to work on Biden's American Rescue Plan this week and next, angling for a vote by the end of February before sending it over to the Senate. The plan would provide a third stimulus check for up to $1,400, an extension to federal unemployment aid and perhaps even a $15 minimum wage.

To meet their mid-March deadline, Democrats will use a legislative budget tool that can speed through the bill without bipartisan support but sets strict limits on what Democrats can -- and can't -- include in their stimulus bill. Here's what we know about Biden's proposal right now.

As part of his plan the House is working on, Biden has proposed a $1,400 stimulus check. When added to the $600 checks Congress approved at the end of 2020, this would add up to a $2,000 amount some have called on for months.

After days of back and forth, Congress looks set to significantly target the checks at lower income earners than those who qualified for the first two payments, while keeping the income requirements the same. A hard ceiling on income designed to exclude higher earners from getting a check would change a rule about the use of dependents in the stimulus check formula. Check out our stimulus payment calculator to see how that could work for you.

For this third round of payments, Biden is pushing to include adult dependents as well as children and families with mixed-status citizenship. Here are all the ways a third check could bring more money or how you could get less. Here's what happens to your total if a check arrives during tax season.

$400 extra in federal unemployment benefits The weekly $300 federal unemployment checks Congress approved in December as part of the $900 billion COVID-relief legislation are set to expire in March. During his presidential campaign, Biden pushed to reform the unemployment system and said he would work with Congress to extend the unemployment benefits that had been authorized under last year's CARES Act and renewed in December, "for however long this crisis lasts."

Biden's plan would send $400 federal unemployment payments through September with triggers that would extend the benefits after September for those who continue to be out of work and include automatic payment adjustments linked to health and economic conditions.

If a new bill is approved by March 14, it would renew the federal unemployment aid without a gap in funding.

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