BREAKING: Senate Republicans Considering Income Thresholds for Coronavirus Checks

According to a new report from TheHill, Senate GOP negotiators are considering income thresholds for coronavirus relief checks.

$75k for individuals and $150k for couples are being discussed.

The Hill reports Senate GOP negotiators are eyeing income thresholds of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples for the direct payments President Trump has proposed to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Republican senators say they want to model direct payments on the stimulus checks former President George W. Bush sent out in 2008 during the financial crisis. Twelve years ago, the rebates were reduced for individual incomes above $75,000 and joint incomes above $150,000.

GOP lawmakers caution, however, that they haven’t yet finalized the proposal, which remains under negotiation.

“It hasn’t been written up yet, but I think the idea was to follow the formula used in 2008. And those are income thresholds that I think everybody finds acceptable in describing middle-income tax payers,” said Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.), who has been in the middle of talks for putting together a phase-three stimulus proposal.

Thune said he expects the phase-out to be modeled on the “way they did it in [2008].”

Setting the income threshold at $75,000 per individual would allow the benefit to cover many workers in low- and middle-income jobs who would have trouble covering expenses by missing work.

Restaurant workers are one sector of the economy that will be especially hard hit quarantines and state, local and federal guidelines regarding social gatherings.

A second Republican senator familiar with the proposal confirmed negotiators are looking at phasing out direct payments at $75,000 in individual income and $150,000 in joint income.

The lawmaker said one possibility under discussion would be to provide “$1,200 for each adult and maybe $500 for kids.”

“It would be a pretty quick phase-out,” the source said of individuals making more than $75,000.

A third Republican said the total cost of the direct payments would be in the ballpark of $300 billion. That would be less than the Treasury Department’s request for two $1,000 payments for eligible adults, which would cost an estimated $500 billion.

But not all Republicans are on board yet with the idea of direct payments.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said after a lunch meeting Wednesday that the money would be better spent on beefing up unemployment benefits.

“I think it makes sense later, not now. Here’s what people are worried about today: ‘I lost my job.’ The unemployment benefit in South Carolina is $323 a week,” Graham said. “That’s not nearly enough to take care of the needs of most Americans.”

“What we’re talking about doing is for the federal government to make up the difference between whatever your unemployment check is at the state level up to 75 percent of your income if you make $80,000,” Graham said.

He added that the unemployment system is “woefully inadequate for the circumstance that we’re under.”