• A bipartisan effort seeks to exclude higher-income families from receiving $1,400 checks
  • The measure passed in a 58 - 42 vote
  • Individuals earning more than $50,000 and couples making over $100,000 may not receive relief payments

A bipartisan group of 16 senators on Thursday proposed an amendment to bar higher-income households from getting $1,400 stimulus checks.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me. and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., led the bipartisan effort to lower the income threshold for the payments.

The amendment passed in a 58-42 vote, with Senate Budget Committee chairman Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., voting in favor of sending checks only to lower- and moderate-income families. The measure did not specify a threshold for exclusion.

"I absolutely want to make certain people making $75,000 or less a year do get their payments and couples making $150,000 or less a year get their payments,” Sanders said.

The bipartisan measure arrives after lawmakers in Congress continued to debate who should qualify for the third round of checks. The Biden administration previously signaled that it's willing to give more targeted aid.

"Further targeting means not the size of the check — it means the income level of people who receive the check," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. "That's something that is under discussion."

The first and second rounds of stimulus checks for individuals phased out at an income of $99,000 and payments for couples phased out at a combined income of $198,000.

The Democrats are considering sending $1,400 checks to individuals earning $50,000 or less, and $2,800 to married couples filing jointly who make $100,000 or less. Heads of households earning up to $75,000 would likely qualify for the relief checks. Families making less than $100,000 would also receive an additional $1,400 per child, The Washington Post noted.

Republicans are proposing sending checks to individuals earning up to $40,000 a year and couples making up to $80,000.

While many Democrats back the proposal, some -- including Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. -- have refused to support lowering the income threshold. Wyden will be a key figure in crafting the reconciliation legislation.

"The people who got two checks already are expecting a third on the basis of the pledges and what was said through the campaign," he said Thursday. "They have bills piling up, and they have difficulty paying their car insurance."

Central banks pumped huge amounts of money into the economy to avoid a meltdown
Central banks pumped huge amounts of money into the economy to avoid a meltdown AFP / Eva HAMBACH