Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, clink glasses in a toast to each other as they wait to speak at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, after senators reached an agreement to advance a bill ending government shutdown. Credit: Andrew Harnick / AP

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed Wednesday to tighten the upper income limits at which people could qualify for stimulus checks as party leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the Senate.

The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, said a Democratic official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal party conversations.

In a 50-50 Senate where Democrats must remain united, party moderates have been pushing to refocus the bill’s spending more closely on those most hurt by the economic slowdown. The changes came with Republicans, who may unanimously oppose the legislation, lashing the bill as an overpriced Democratic wish list that lavishes help on many who don’t really need it.

As part of Democrats’ legislative thrust on what is Biden’s top initial legislative priority, individuals earning up to $75,000 — and couples up to $150,000 — would get $1,400 checks per person. Under Wednesday’s agreement, those checks would end for individuals making $80,000 and couples earning $160,000, the official said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a Friday floor speech that an amendment from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and fellow moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, aimed at reining in the payments is in the final Senate version of the bill. A symbolic Senate vote on that in February indicated near-universal support for barring high-income people from getting checks.

Biden and party leaders stood firm to retain a $400 weekly emergency jobless benefit to be paid on top of regular state payments. Moderates have wanted to trim those payments to $300 per week, with some saying the higher amount could discourage people from returning to their jobs.

On Tuesday, Biden took to Twitter to signal he wouldn’t budge from his demand that lawmakers add a fresh $1,400 payment to the $600 that millions of individuals received from a December relief measure. That new installment comprises nearly a quarter of the overall bill’s cost.

The huge relief package is a too-big-to-fail moment for the new president, who would be politically staggered if Congress — controlled narrowly by Democrats but controlled nonetheless — failed to deliver. Conquering the virus that’s killed half a million Americans and flung the economy and countless lives into tailspins is Biden’s top initial priority.

So far, Republicans are following the template they set during Barack Obama’s presidency. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he hoped his party’s senators would oppose the bill unanimously, as their House counterparts did early Saturday when that chamber approved its version of the measure.

“The new administration made a conscious effort to jam us,” McConnell told reporters. “We’ll be fighting this in every way that we can.”

Democrats are using special rules that will let them avoid GOP filibusters that would require them to garner an impossible 60 votes to approve the legislation. The Senate bill was expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly.

Schumer said Senate debate would commence as soon as Wednesday and predicted, “We’ll have the votes we need to pass the bill.” Democrats want to send a final package to Biden by March 14, when an earlier round of emergency jobless benefits expires.

The bill has hundreds of billions of dollars for schools and colleges, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, mass transit systems, renters and small businesses. It also has money for child care, tax breaks for families with children and assistance for states willing to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents.

There are still moving parts. Republicans including Collins could offer more amendments aimed at affecting the end result by winning moderate support. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, wants the bill’s $350 billion for state and local governments to specify minimum amounts for municipal governments and has called for $50 billion to improve broadband coverage.

Story by Alan Fram. Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking and Bangor Daily News writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.