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Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) questions Federal Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) questions Federal Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) questions Federal Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Jessica Calefati
By Jessica Calefati January 21, 2021

Checking Pat Toomey’s claim that families with ‘six-figure incomes’ would get thousands under plan

If Your Time is short

  • Sen. Pat Toomey this week criticized President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, saying the direct payments Biden wants to send Americans are poorly targeted to those most in need. 
     
  • Married couples making up to $150,000 annually would qualify for $2,800 in new payments, on top of the $1,200 they should have received this month from the relief package then-President Donald Trump signed into law late last year. 
     
  • Together, those payments would total $2,000 per person — the target Democrats in Congress set, Trump made a late and unsuccessful push for, and that Biden is now pursuing from the White House. 

Sen. Pat Toomey this week criticized President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, saying the direct payments Biden wants to send Americans are poorly targeted to those most in need. 

"There will be several thousand dollars in payments going to families with six-figure incomes who’ve had no income interruption whatsoever," Toomey (R., Pa.) said Tuesday during a Senate confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary. 

We wondered just how much such families will receive if Biden’s plan is signed into law. 

Toomey is right. Married couples making up to $150,000 annually would qualify for $2,800 in new payments, on top of the $1,200 they should have received this month from the relief package then-President Donald Trump signed into law late last year. 

Together, those payments would total $2,000 per person — the target Democrats in Congress set, Trump made a late and unsuccessful push for, and that Biden is now pursuing from the White House. 

Individuals making up to $75,000 would qualify for $1,400 in new aid on top of the $600 payments they just got. And adults with dependent children ages 16 and younger would qualify for an additional $600 per child. 

Analysts estimate this component of Biden’s plan could cost $465 billion. 

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During the Senate Finance Committee hearing, which took place the day before Biden’s inauguration, Toomey argued against direct payments for upper middle class families who haven’t endured any loss of income during the pandemic. 

Yellen acknowledged the payments aren’t designed to target the people hurting the most, but rather intended to support families and stimulate the economy broadly. 

"Some families presumably don’t greatly need the money, but there are many families who are under stress," Yellen told Toomey. 

The eligibility criteria for direct payments under Biden’s plan mirrors the one Congress agreed to a few weeks ago, which set the upper income limit for the smallest payments at $174,000 for a married couple. 

Toomey told Yellen it would be tough to find bipartisan support for Biden’s proposal, but several Senate Republicans have already endorsed the idea, including Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. 

Democrats were first to pitch the idea of $2,000 per person direct payments, but it was Trump who made a late push for them in December, threatening to withhold his support for the relief package unless the payments were included. He eventually relented and signed the package into law without the larger payments. 

Our ruling 

Toomey said families with six-figure incomes who’ve had no income interruption will get several thousand dollars in payments under Biden’s coronavirus relief package. That’s right. Couples who make up to $150,000 annually will get $2,800, plus $600 for each child age 16 and under, on top of payments received from the last relief package. We rate the statement True. 

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Checking Pat Toomey’s claim that families with ‘six-figure incomes’ would get thousands under plan

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