Third stimulus check: Republicans want to give Americans less money

second stimulus check date
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President Joe Biden may consider a pared-down stimulus proposal from a handful of Senate Republicans, who are suggesting reducing the amount  of a third stimulus check to $1,000 and limiting eligibility so that fewer Americans get any check at all.

A group of 10 moderate GOP senators, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine), will meet with Biden at the White House on Monday (Feb. 1) to discuss their $618 billion plan, which they are pitching as a way to gain bipartisan support for additional stimulus relief. 

The proposal is one-third the size of the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion package and would reduce or eliminate some of Biden's key relief measures, including a third stimulus check. 

According to the New York Times, the GOP bill would provide $1,000 checks for individuals earning up to $40,000 per year and families making up to $80,000 per year. Those with incomes up to $50,000 and $100,000, respectively, would receive a prorated amount. 

"Let's focus on those who are struggling," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the moderate group, said on Sunday.

In contrast, Biden's larger package would send $1,400 direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples less than $150,000. 

If the same criteria as in the previous two rounds of checks applied, prorated checks would go to those with incomes up to $103,000 and $206,000, respectively. 

If Biden's proposal were to move forward, anyone who received a stimulus check of up to $600 in the wave of payments that went out after Christmas 2020 would also see some supplemental funding with the third stimulus check. 

The Republican package would eliminate Biden's proposed federal minimum-wage increase to $15 per hour. However, it would continue the $300 supplemental unemployment benefit, now set to expire in March, until June 30.

What's next for the third stimulus check?

Senate Democrats have suggested that they will forge ahead with the larger relief package without GOP support through a legislative process called reconciliation. This would allow them to pass Biden's proposal with just 50 votes, plus the vice president's, rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

However, Biden has previously expressed hope for a bipartisan stimulus deal. The GOP group formulating this latest bill includes 10 centrist senators — exactly the number needed to avoid a filibuster. 

Some lawmakers are still pushing to move parts of the $1.9 trillion plan forward unless Republicans agree to work with them. 

"They should negotiate with us, not make a take-it-or-leave-it offer," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on Sunday.  

Emily Long

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.