As Democrats Take Over Senate, Personal Finance Hangs in Balance

Laveta Brigham

This week Democratic candidates won both runoff races in Georgia and took control of the U.S. Senate. That marks a sea change in Washington and potentially the financial lives of Americans. With Democrats in control of the White House and Congress for the first time in more than a decade, […]

This week Democratic candidates won both runoff races in Georgia and took control of the U.S. Senate. That marks a sea change in Washington and potentially the financial lives of Americans.

With Democrats in control of the White House and Congress for the first time in more than a decade, President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda will face less opposition. Here’s what to watch for in laws and provisions in the months to come.

Another round of stimulus payments

At the end of last year, the House passed a bill to increase stimulus payments to $2,000, up from $600 per adult and per child for individuals with adjusted gross incomes under $75,000. Ultimately, the push for bigger checks faced opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, and the legislation ran out of time. As of Jan. 7, the Internal Revenue Service had sent out about $129 billion in $600 payments.

The change in control of the Senate means a new calculus will come to bear. On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, poised to be the new majority leader in the Senate, said one of the first moves the Democrats will make is to authorize the $2,000 payments.

If Congress authorizes stimulus payments of $2,000 per adult and dependent, many upper-income households who haven’t received money in the previous two rounds of payments could get partial payments because of the details of the calculations that shrink the payments as incomes rise.

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