Moderate Democrats have cut 12 million people from the COVID-19 relief bill, lowering the cutoff for stimulus check eligibility. The bar has been lowered from $100,000 to $80,000 in annual income, a move that centrists wanted to reduce the price tag of the bill.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates the move will cut out 11.8 million adults along with 4.6 million children. Steve Wamhoff, ITEP’s director of tax policy, cautioned that number might not be as impactful as first glance suggests.

“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,” he told CNBC.

Democrats have been forced to scale back their relief plans due to the razor-thin margins of the Senate, which is currently under Democratic control due only to Vice President Kamala Harris acting as a 50-vote tiebreaker. The Senate's balance of power has given the centrist wing of the Democratic party a disproportionate amount of power.

Democrats were able to keep the $400 boost to unemployment benefits during negotiations. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of the primary roadblocks to implementing Democratic policy, indicated Wednesday that he was content with the bill.

"I just think that the bill has, really, enough good stuff -- really does have enough good stuff -- that we should be able to make this work," Manchin said. "I'm very pleased with the discussions and dialogues and some changes that have been agreed upon."

Sen. Joe Manchin Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia Photo: Reuters

That’s good news for Democrats, who are running on a tight timetable: Federal benefits run out on March 14. They’re also already looking at other policy goals, including a hard-pressed election reform bill and an infrastructure proposal that could dwarf COVID-19 relief. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden wasn’t too worried that progressives would hold up the legislation over the change.

“[Biden] knows that the sausage-making machine almost always spits out a different package than what is proposed initially,” she said. “He’s confident that this is a package, with all of the components included, that Democrats of all political backgrounds can get behind.”