It is hardly a shock that Republicans, and even some Democrats and Independents, are balking at passing the full Biden Covid relief plan as it initially exists. Now I frankly do not believe that the Republicans will okay ANY additional Covid relief even if the Democrats make some compromises to the plan.
However, I do believe that the Democrats can not only improve upon the Covid relief package but also come away at least looking like they made a definite effort to compromise. Here are the two compromises that I recommend.
#1. Lower the annual income eligibility threshold to receive stimulus payments
Neither my wife nor I have ever been comfortable with the stimulus payments, whatever they may be, being allowed to be sent to Americans who really don’t need it.
As best I have been able to find, here is a table showing who would be eligible to receive stimulus payments under the existing Covid relief plan. As you can no doubt see, it is quite complex. You should also be able to see that there are an awfully lot of high income people who would be eligible to receive checks under the current plan.
These are the things that jump out to me.
- If you are a single adult, you can make up to $115,000 annually.
- If you are a single parent with 2 children, you can make up to $232,500 annually.
- (Why a single parent with 1 child is not listed in that graph is a mystery to me, as is the absence of a single parent with more than 2 children.)
- Married with no children, you can make up to $230,000 annually.
- Married with from 1-5 children, you can make from $270,000 up to $430,000 annually.
If you make over $200,000 annually, I do not understand how someone should be eligible for an additional stimulus payment, regardless of how many children they may have.
Now remember, this is only for the stimulus payment. People making that amount of money can certainly have businesses and employees to support, or they could be laid off from their places of business. In the event of either of those situations, there are additional elements of the Covid relief plan that provide business relief and/or increased unemployment benefits.
Now, I don’t know exactly what amounts the thresholds should be set at but there obviously is some wiggle room which Democrats can use to try and get Republican buy-in.
Since my wife and I are retired, as are friends of ours, it is also our contention that people on Social Security do not really need any more stimulus payments (nor the original stimulus payments for that matter). I’m not exactly certain how that could be written into the law.
- My guess is that Democrats would be less likely to give on omitting Social Security recipients since it would appear to be unfairly omitting retirees. However, I do think that most retirees would agree that they would rather see the stimulus money go to lower income people who have lost their jobs, or who have small businesses and employees to support.
#2. Take the increase of the hourly wage up to $15/hr out of the bill.
I’m not saying don’t fight for this entirely because I absolutely feel that it is the right thing to do, and it is already the law in a number of states anyway.
What I’m saying is don’t waste time or energy trying to include this in the Covid relief bill. Just make sure that low income people, who are most often working at or below that $15 minimum, get that stimulus relief first.
So those are the two items I think are eminently negotiable –
- The stimulus payment income threshold
- The $15/hr minimum wage.
If Democrats are willing to compromise on those two items, not only does it make more sense to us, it will give them leverage in the court of public opinion that they are seriously in their efforts to compromise.
But Let’s Get Real
Here’s the rub. Even if Democrats DO compromise on both of those items, I don’t believe for one second that almost any of the Republicans would vote for the stimulus, much less the 10 of them that would be needed to get to 60 votes.
But Democrats need to at least make the offer. Money in the Covid relief bill must go out to things like …
- Funding Covid vaccine production, distribution and vaccinations
- Funding schools so that they may reopen safely
- Increasing and/or extending unemployment benefits
- Making money available to lower income businesses that are in danger of being lost
- By the way, this time, let’s be sure to NOT include big chain stores and restaurants.
- Funding state and local governments so that they are able to avoid having to cut essential personnel like police, fire and medical personnel.
This needs to be done quickly. It really does not matter how long the Republicans drag negotiations out … SO DON’T LET THEM. They will likely NEVER agree to any more Covid relief. With that being the case, Democrats should make the initial offer to compromise as quickly as possible. If the Republicans don’t take it, then go immediately to Reconciliation so that the bill can be passed with just 50 votes plus the Vice President.
But before going back to Reconciliation, and even without any Republican help, I think the Democrats should go ahead and lower the income thresholds as to who is eligible to receive the stimulus payments.
If they do that, not only can Democrats then legitimately say that they tried to compromise with Republicans, they can also say that even without the Republicans, they understand the need to target the stimulus payments to only the most needy. So their proposal is now attempting to better do that.
I don’t know. That seems like a logical plan to me. I don’t usually ask for feedback, but since I very seldom receive ANY feedback to my editorials, I want you to know that I am sincerely interested to know what YOU think of my suggestions.
Please leave a comment at the end of this post.