Americans await 3rd round of COVID stimulus checks

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many Americans are waiting on financial relief as part of President Joe Biden's nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief legislation.

Experts say this relief bill has a lot of moving parts. One of the most important missions is to provide financial relief to the everyday American struggling financially.

"Folks are in trouble. They are trying to make it through the next couple of months, where we get through the pandemic, and this bill is designed to do that," said Dr. Richard Prisinzano, with the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

Prisinzano has studied the relief bill. It includes additional unemployment benefits of $400 per week, $160 billion for coronavirus testing and vaccines, help for small businesses, and $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals earning up to $75,000 a year.

"Once you make $76,000, you start to dial down that $1,400. I forget the exact ratio, it's like five dollars for every thousand dollars, but it goes to zero at $80,000," said Prisinzano.

Checks will also be capped for couples making $160,000 a year.

Experts say there is a reason that those making more money will not be issued checks. They say it's about rescuing people who are considered lower-income and not handing out free money.

"The first round couple rounds of checks went to people who paid extra on their mortgage or put more toward college education for their kids. That really wasn't what the bill was intended to do. They were saving it. So we found that roughly 75% of those checks were being saved, not spent," said Prisinzano.

Once the bill passes the U.S. Senate, it will go back to the U.S. House for final approval.

Democrats say the final deadline to get a bill on the president's desk is March 14, when federal unemployment benefits are set to expire.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.