“The Senate is on track to send a robust $1.9 trillion package to the president’s desk before the March 14 expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits. We will meet this deadline,” Schumer wrote in a Friday letter to Senate Democrats.
The House is prepared to take up the bill next week and pass it and send it to the Senate late in the week, perhaps Friday or Saturday. That would allow the Senate a couple weeks to work through the minimum wage dispute and any other issues — and send the legislation back to the House for final passage if changes are made — ahead of the March 14 deadline.
March 14 is when current $300 weekly emergency federal unemployment benefits are set to expire. The Biden bill would increase those weekly benefits to $400 and extend them into the fall.
The legislation also includes a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks. Coming on top of $600 stimulus payments approved in December, that would make good on Biden’s promises of $2,000 stimulus checks to voters.
Additionally the legislation includes some $350 billion for city and states governments experiencing massive revenue shortfalls; $160 billion for vaccines, increased testing and other help for the health care system; around $130 billion to help schools reopen; food assistance and rent help; and an increased and expanded child tax credit.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) sent a “whip notice” to House Republicans on Friday urging a “no” vote on the legislation and labeling it the “Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives Act” — a reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“Next week, the House is expected to consider the nearly $2 trillion package of progressive priorities Democrats have rushed to bring to the Floor,” the Scalise whip notice said. “This package will keep schools closed, bailout blue states, pay people not to work, and raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.”
Aides to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also circulated a memo Friday indicating they planned to challenge the legislation aggressively once it reaches the Senate floor under the rules of “budget reconciliation,” which would allow it to pass with a simple majority vote instead of the 60 votes normally required.
Under budget reconciliation, provisions without a budgetary impact are prohibited. The McConnell memo highlighted the minimum wage increase, among other issues. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said increasing the $7.25 hourly federal minimum wage to $15 would increase earnings for millions of workers and lift people out of poverty but also eliminate 1.4 million jobs — findings Democrats have challenged.
Because the Senate is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote if they proceed without GOP support under “budget reconciliation.” If they hold together, they can pass the legislation with Vice President Harris breaking the tie.
However, two moderate Senate…
Go to the news source: Schumer pledges final passage of $1.9 trillion relief bill ahead of March 14 une…