Even a majority of Republicans in US backed bigger relief checks

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Multiple polls show that most Republicans thought relief payments should be much bigger than $600.

Polls taken in recent months showed that a majority of Americans supported receiving more than the $600 in direct payments that Congress passed in the coronavirus relief package on Monday night.

A Data for Progress poll released over the weekend showed that 59% of Republicans "strongly support" the direct payments, along with 76% of Democrats. Overall, 88% of Americans supported the stimulus checks.

A Franklin Templeton-Gallup poll from September showed the same trend, with 60% of Republicans, 68% of Democrats, and 66% of all U.S. adults supporting a stimulus payment of $900 or more.

Monday's deal — a $900 billion stimulus package that includes the $600 payments — is the second round of relief. The first round, from March, included stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for individuals.

Eligibility for a stimulus check is based on adjusted gross income reported in 2019 tax returns. Individual adults who earned $75,000 or less would receive the full $600. Heads of households who made $112,500 or less and married couples who made $150,000 or less would get $1200. Any dependent children would also receive $600, which is $100 more than the first relief package provided.

Those who earned more than the qualifying incomes would receive prorated checks of less than $5 per $100 more than the stated income levels, which would cut off at $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.

The $900 billion relief bill also includes an extra $300 per week for 11 weeks of unemployment benefits. The amount is less than the supplemental $600 a week of unemployment benefits passed in March.

The added benefits are less than the $600 per week Democrats had pushed to reinstate from the first package. In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dug in, saying: "We have said that we're going to have the $600. And they know that we want the $600."

Meanwhile, job growth in the U.S. slowed for the fifth month in December.

And over 19 million people are still reliant on unemployment benefits, with claims reaching the highest levels in three months last Thursday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.