Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasts Democrats' last-minute compromise on stimulus checks as an 'own-goal'

  • AOC assailed the decision from Biden to narrow eligibility for a third stimulus check as “an own-goal.”
  • Individuals making $75,000 and under are set to receive the full check, but those earning above $80,000 would no longer qualify.
  • Biden’s move sparked criticism from other progressives as well.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned “conservative” Democratic senators who pushed their party to limit eligibility for a new set of $1,400 stimulus checks under President Joe Biden’s relief package. 

Biden has endorsed the proposal for quicker phaseouts for the $1,400 stimulus checks to prevent people who earn higher incomes from getting a third direct payment, two Democratic aides told Insider on Wednesday. The checks form a key part of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation the Senate will take up.

“Conservative Dems have fought so the Biden admin sends fewer & less generous relief checks than the Trump admin did,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a move that makes little-to-no political or economic sense, and targets an element of relief that is most tangibly felt by everyday people. An own-goal.” 

A few other progressive House Democrats also voiced frustration over the stimulus check negotiation. The Senate may cast an initial vote on the $1.9 trillion relief package on Wednesday. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the House Progressive Caucus, said she wasn’t pleased with the smaller individual checks. And Rep. Mark Pocan called the compromise deal “Senate silliness.” 

“I don’t like that this is being narrowed,” Jayapal said Wednesday. “I feel like the survival checks are the easiest, simplest, most popular, populist, proposal.”

But many Senate Democrats see the move as a necessary compromise. 

“I think it’s an appropriate way of bringing this to a successful conclusion,” Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado told reporters on Wednesday.

The House approved the relief bill on Saturday with higher eligibility caps for individuals and couples, maintaining the same income thresholds from earlier pandemic aid packages. 

But moderate Senate Democrats pushed Biden to narrow eligibility in recent days.

Individuals making $75,000 and under are set to receive the full check, but those earning $80,000 and above would no longer qualify. Couples earning $150,000 and below would get the full payment, yet those earning $160,000 and above would no longer qualify.

A preliminary analysis from the left-leaning Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy indicates roughly 16 million fewer Americans do not qualify for a third check under the new design of the plan, compared to the House version of the bill.

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