Speed Reads

stimulus split

Progressives argue Biden's compromise on stimulus checks is 'completely deranged'

The Biden administration struck a deal with congressional moderates on Wednesday, agreeing to narrow eligibility for stimulus checks, and it's got a lot of liberals and progressives feeling somewhere between confused and outraged.

Under the deal, President Biden reportedly agreed to give the new round of $1,400 coronavirus stimulus checks a lower salary cutoff, meaning individuals earning between $80,000 to $100,000 per year won't be eligible for partial stimulus payments as they were under previous payouts. The stimulus checks are part of the administration's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan — getting moderate support for the bill is essential if Democrats want to move the package forward in the Senate as soon as Wednesday, since Republicans are united against the plan.

But the compromise struck many as the wrong move. As progressive PAC Justice Democrats spokesperson Waleed Shahid pointed out, it means there is a chunk of Americans who got payments from the Trump administration who will miss out on this round.

Slate's Jordan Weissmann put it in harsher terms, writing there is "no actual good reason" for Democrats to cave to the wishes of a tiny chunk of their party (in this case, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) pushed hardest for the change). He wrote Democrats are making "politically unpopular choice that will probably antagonize a modest but vocal number of voters without saving a substantial amount of money." The Week's Ryan Cooper made a similar point, saying "Biden is inarguably breaking his promise" to send out $2,000 checks. Rolling Stone's Jack Crosbie argued Democrats are "pathologically short-changing America," saying "at this point in the pandemic, these policies look completely deranged."

As for the Democratic Party itself, CNN's Manu Raju reports the bulk of members are "not pleased by the change but [there is] not enough concern to tank the underlying $1.9 trillion relief bill."