Senate Republicans proposed another stimulus check bill yesterday, the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families (CAAF) Act. Stimulus checks under the CAAF Act would provide $1,000 to eligible adults and dependents. As an example, an eligible family of four would receive $4,000.
This proposal comes less than a week after Senate Republicans proposed a $1,200 stimulus check in the American Workers, Families, And Employers Assistance Act, which is part of the HEALS Act.
There are several important differences between these two proposals. Let’s examine the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act, then compare the two stimulus check proposals.
Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act – $1,000 Stimulus Checks for Adults and Dependents
The CAAF Act, introduced by Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), would provide $1,000 stimulus checks for eligible adults and dependents (press release).
There are no age limits for dependents. This differs from the stimulus check payments made under the CARES Act, which limited stimulus check payments to dependents ages 16 and under. The age limit cut out millions of high school, college-age, and adult dependents.
CAAF Act Stimulus Check Eligibility & Income Limits
The CAAF Act proposal includes all US citizens, including those who are married to foreign nationals. However, the proposal does not include eligibility for foreign nationals or ITIN filers.
Eligibility also extends to adult dependents, including college students or those with disabilities. Both groups were left out of the CARES Act.
Income limits are based on the taxpayer’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and follow the same limits as the CARES Act and the HEALS Act proposal.
Those with an AGI above the following limits will have their Economic Impact Payments reduced (but not below zero) by 5% of so much of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income as exceeds:
- $150,000 in the case of a joint return
- $112,500 in the case of a head of household
- $75,000 for all other taxpayers
The text of the CAAF Act does not specify a limitation on the number of dependents who would be eligible for the stimulus payments. You can read the text of the bill here.
How Does the CAAF Stimulus Check Compare to the HEALS Act Stimulus Check?
As mentioned the CAAF and HEALS Act proposals share the same income eligibility rules and both offer stimulus checks to all dependents, regardless of age.
The big difference is the amount of the check.
- $1,000 for adult taxpayers
- $2,000 for married filing jointly
- $1,000 for each eligible dependent, regardless of age
American Workers, Families, And Employers Assistance Act (Part of the HEALS Act)
- $1,200 for adult taxpayers
- $2,400 for married filing jointly
- $500 for each eligible dependent, regardless of age
For the purposes of the graphic below, the HEALS Act proposal calls for stimulus checks in the same amounts as the CARES Act.
The CAAF Act press release includes a link to a one-pager (download) that features the following graphic:
The CAAF Act Stimulus Check Would Put More Money in the Hands of Families
As you can see from the above graphic, individuals and married couples without children would earn more under the HEALS Act proposal. But most families with dependents would receive more under the CAAF proposal.
A family of four would receive an additional $600 more than they received under the CARES Act, or than they would receive under the HEALS Act.
Senator Rubio said, “As Congress continues to negotiate another economic response to the pandemic, we should prioritize direct assistance to those who need it most. American families are among the hardest hit, facing unexpected challenges like homeschooling, child care shortages, and unemployment. Congress must take steps to help ensure that parents and children are able to manage and recover from the impact of this crisis as the American people continue to navigate these uncertain times.”
Why Propose Another Stimulus Bill?
Earlier this week, the Senate introduced their coronavirus relief package, the Heath, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act. Rather than propose a single bill, Senate Republicans presented 10 separate proposals that were individually drafted by Senate committees. You can read more about the fractured nature of the HEALS Act in this overview.
One of these 10 proposals was the American Workers, Families, And Employers Assistance Act, which included a $1,200 stimulus check, extended unemployment benefits, and more.
However, there is not much consensus among the Republican Party about these various proposals, and there is not much hope that these will be passed quickly.
This lack of unity within the party led Senators Cassidy, Daines, Romney, and Rubio to present their own plan.