As Democrats try to push President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion rescue plan through Congress, some states are taking matters into their own hands by sending stimulus checks to their residents.
California and Maryland both passed legislation distributing stimulus checks of $600 and $300 per person, respectively, to qualifying residents.
“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a press release on Wednesday. “These actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”
Around 5.7 million Californians are expected to get the $600 one-time direct payment, Newsom said in a tweet on Thursday. Around 400,000 Marylanders will receive the $300 payment per individual and the $500 payments for a family, according to the office of Governor Larry Hogan.
In both states, the direct payments would go to people who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on their 2019 taxes in Maryland and their 2020 taxes in California.
In California, taxpayers with Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) would also qualify for the payments if their income is below $75,000. If they qualify for EITC too, they'd get a $1,200 check. Taxpayers with ITINs were ineligible for both rounds of the stimulus payments distributed by the federal government in the spring and winter.
Maryland residents would qualify for payments if they earn up to:
$50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children,
$47,440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children,
$41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child,
or $15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children.
The payment would begin flowing to Marylanders this week, while Californians are expected to see theirs "shortly after they file their 2020 tax returns," according to Newsom's office.
"As Washington remains divided and gridlocked, Maryland has once again shown the nation that both parties can still come together, that we can put the people’s priorities first, and that we can deliver real, bipartisan, common sense solutions to the serious problems that face us," Hogan said in a statement on Monday.
The push by the two states to send payments comes as the House readies Biden's stimulus plan for a vote by the end of next week. The proposal includes a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 per individual plus a $1,400 bonus for each dependent.
While Biden's initial proposal had higher income thresholds, checks would be sent to individuals who make less than $100,000 and joint filers who earn less than $200,000 after the Ways and Means Committee Chairman introduced new amendments in February.
Democrats would need the support of the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate, along with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus deal. They also haven’t indicated they would reduce the $1,400 amount, despite pressure from Republicans.
“I'm not cutting the size of the checks. They're going to be $1,400 — period,” Biden said at a press conference in February. “That's what the American people were promised.”