Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a weekly press conference at the US Capitol on February 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Thassos Catopodis Getty Images
The House adopted its $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill early Saturday, sending a massive proposal to the Senate as Democrats rush to approve more aid before the unemployment program expires.
It is the first major legislative initiative for the president Joe Biden. The House approved it by a vote of 219-212, mostly along party lines, as the two Democrats joined all Republicans in opposition.
Senators will begin considering a pandemic relief plan next week. Legislators will offer amendments, and the council is likely to adopt a different version of the law, meaning the House would have to adopt the Senate plan or the chambers would have to make a final proposal to the conference committee.
The Democrats, who have a narrow majority in the House and Senate, have decided to just pass the laws budget reconciliation instead of throwing out a smaller aid package with the Republicans. The process allows for the adoption of laws by a simple majority in the Senate.
The house plan includes:
- Payments of $ 1,400 for most individuals, along with the same amount for each dependent. Checks begin to be phased out on revenue of $ 75,000 and are reduced to zero for individuals earning $ 100,000
- Unemployment supplement of $ 400 per week until August 29, along with expansion of programs that make millions more eligible for jobless benefits
- Extend the child tax credit to provide families with up to $ 3,600 per child for one year
- $ 20 billion for distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and $ 50 billion for testing and tracing efforts
- $ 350 billion in state, local and tribal government assistance
- $ 25 billion to help cover rent payments
- $ 170 billion for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to cover the costs of reopening and helping students
- Minimum federal salary of $ 15 per hour, which a Senate parliamentary member will not allow in the reconciliation law on the other side of the Capitol
Democrats have called for a law necessary to speed up vaccination – a key step in restoring a certain level of pre-pandemic life – and to maintain households at a time when approximately 19 million people are receiving unemployment benefits.
“The time for decisive action is long gone,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said Friday night before the vote. “President Biden’s US rescue plan is a crucial action.”
Republicans have questioned the need for such a large proposal, particularly criticizing the scope of direct payments, state and local government support, and school funding. Earlier on Friday, minority house leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Argued that the law “does not constitute a relief” and “does not deliver to American families.”
The Biden administration and Democratic leaders in Congress said the country faces a higher risk of doing too little by injecting too much money in return. Some economists have also questioned the scale of the law.
Democrats in the Senate face greater challenges in passing the law than was the case with the House. Although the party can approve the law on its own, it will need every Democrat to support it in the Senate, which is divided into 50-50.
Democrats must also decide how to proceed with the minimum wage policy without losing any support. After the Senate MP ruled that the bill could not contain a minimum wage of $ 15 under the rules of conciliation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Sensor Ron Wyden, D-Ore., And Bernie Sanders, I- Vt., Sought a workaround impose a tax penalty on large corporations that do not pay workers at least $ 15 an hour.
It is unclear whether the proposal would be in line with Senate budget constraints.
Vice President Kamala Harris also seems unprepared against attempts to reject MP Elizabeth MacDonough, which some progressives suggest she should do.
Earlier on Friday, Pelosi said she believed the House would “absolutely” pass a relief law if he returned from the Senate without increasing his minimum wage. She told reporters that Democrats would try to convey wage increases through a separate plan as needed.
“We will not rest until we exceed the minimum wage of $ 15,” she said.
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