UPDATE: Early Saturday morning, the House of Representatives passed the relief package that would provide for a third round of stimulus checks. The 219-212 vote fell mostly along party lines, with the exception of two Democrats (Reps. Jared Golden and Kurt Schrader) who rejected the proposal.
The legislation now moves to the Senate.
If you're hoping for a third stimulus check, you'll want to watch what happens in Washington, D.C, over the next few days.
The House Budget Committee advanced the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on Monday, and in doing so, moved Congress one step closer to approving a round of $1,400 relief payments to help Americans through the coronavirus crisis. The House of Representatives is aiming to hold a floor vote on the proposal this week, according to The New York Times and tweets from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Democrats are attempting to usher through the payments via budget reconciliation, a legislative process that requires only a simple majority of votes in the Senate to pass a bill (as opposed to the normal 60). It may be an uphill battle given some Republicans' reticence to pass such a costly package, but speed seems to be the priority.
"Without this relief package, conditions will spiral further out of control and families will suffer needlessly," Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said in a news release. "We have the plan and the fiscal space, we have the American people behind us, and now we have the bill to get it done."
Here's what you need to know.
What's in the current stimulus proposal?
Originally suggested by President Joe Biden, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan calls for items like expanded unemployment benefits, an increased child tax credit and a $15 minimum wage. It also allows for "2021 recovery rebates to individuals," a fancy term for stimulus checks.
Single filers would get $1,400, and married couples who file jointly would receive $2,800, plus $1,400 per dependent.
Biden's stance is that this $1,400, combined with the $600 payment distributed in early January, equals the $2,000 stimulus he's championed. (Not everyone agrees.)
Income limits for the third stimulus would be the same as previous ones. The payments would phase out for single filers earning over $75,000, heads of household earning over $112,500, and couples earning over $150,000.
How will the third stimulus check differ from the first two?
The first and second stimulus checks provided $500 and $600 per dependent under age 17, respectively. This meant adult dependents and college students were excluded. But the third proposal doesn't appear to have an age limit, which is good news for families.
Another potential change is that the previous two rounds of stimulus payments were based on IRS data from people's 2018 and 2019 tax returns. The American Rescue Plan instructs the IRS to use people's 2019 tax information to calculate the amount of their third stimulus check — unless they've already filed their 2020 tax return. In that case, the agency would use the most recent return it has on file.
What's the timeline for the third stimulus check?
The legislation directs the government to distribute the third stimulus payments "as rapidly as possible," with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2021.
In a Friday Twitter video, Biden said people can get the money "as soon as the House and Senate pass my legislation." As for the overall package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she's hoping to have it "all done by the end of February" and "on the president’s desk" by mid-March.
To prepare to get your potential third stimulus check, make sure the IRS has your direct deposit information. You may also want to electronically file your taxes now so the government has an accurate income level for you.
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