Survey: Most Americans expect to save their $1,400 stimulus check, not spend it

More than one-third of Americans expect to save — not spend — the $1,400 stimulus check that President Biden is urging Congress to pass.

That's according to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by Bloomberg, which found that 34% of Americans plan to put the third cash payment into savings, an increase of 11 percentage points compared to the first $1,200 check that Congress delivered in the early days of the pandemic.

By comparison, 30% of survey respondents said they would spend the money on food, 22% on housing and 18% on credit card debt.

The proportion of people who said they intended to stash away the stimulus payment was higher among wealthier respondents, with 41% of households earning more than $100,000 or more saying they will save the money, along with 37% of households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 annually. In households earning less than $50,000 a year, only 17% of respondents said they saved the money in the spring, but 29% expect to do so this round.

The survey could provide new fodder to Republicans and moderate Democrats who want to narrow eligibility for the third round of checks. One proposal floated by senior Democrats includes lowering the threshold for the payments to begin phasing out above $50,000 for single taxpayers, $75,000 for people who file as the heads of households, and $100,000 for married couples, according to The Washington Post.

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But under draft legislation advanced Thursday by the Ways and Means Committee, most Americans who qualified for the first two payments the government distributed in 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 would receive the $1,400 check.

Individuals earning $75,000 or less (and couples with an income below $150,000) would receive the fully promised $1,400 payment. The checks would phase out faster than previous rounds, cutting off individuals who earn more than $100,000 and couples earning more than $200,000. The proposal also extends eligibility to more dependents, including college students and disabled adults.

President Biden on Tuesday indicated he supported the stimulus check proposal from House Democrats.

There are potential benefits to Americans saving the cash: It could spread out government support over time and avoid a surge in consumer spending that critics say could lead to a spike in inflation.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect to see a sustained rise in prices when the economy reopens, even though Americans have built up some savings.

"Inflation has been much lower and more stable over the past three decades than in earlier times," Powell said.