House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) meets with fellow members of Congress to observe a moment of silence on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Al Drago | Getty Images
House Democrats plan to pass their $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus alleviation bill on Friday as lawmakers seek to prevent the unemployment lifeline from draining next month.
“The American people strongly support this bill and we are working swiftly to get it into force,” said Steny Hoyer, majority chairman, D-Md., In a statement posted on Twitter Tuesday evening.
The package includes $ 1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, a weekly unemployment benefit supplement of $ 400, and an expansion of the programs that allow millions more Americans to be eligible for unemployment insurance. It also spends $ 20 billion on Covid-19 vaccinations, $ 50 billion on testing, and $ 350 billion on state, local, and tribal government efforts.
The plan is to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025. The determination cannot survive in the final calculation.
The Democrats have sought to get the legislation through budget vote themselves, which requires a simple majority in a Senate that is 50-50 split by party. They have argued that they can’t wait to ease economic troubles as they try to strike a deal with the GOP.
Republicans have questioned the need for nearly $ 2 trillion more as they point to vaccinations that will put the country on the path to a broader reopening.
“Much of that bill is a waste or wish-list for the progressives,” claimed Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the House of Representatives, R-Calif., During a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview Wednesday morning.
Democrats pushed for another bailout as the US stepped up vaccination efforts. More than 44 million people have now received one dose, and nearly 20 million had two, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the country has made progress in building immunity, it still has around 71,500 Covid-19 cases and more than 2,000 deaths per day, according to a 7-day average calculated by CNBC using data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 500,000 Americans have now died from the disease.
With much of the country in place with economic restrictions to prevent infection, more than 18 million people received unemployment benefits earlier this month. More than 150 CEOs in New York on Wednesday pushed for the relief plan to be passed, saying “more needs to be done to put the country on a path to a strong and lasting recovery.”
The Democrats will next take the formal step to get the bill through the House Rules Committee and into the full chamber on Friday morning. The party leaders want to send the legislation to the Senate later that day.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has predicted that the Senate will approve the bill and send it to President Joe Biden before March 14. Programs to increase unemployment by $ 300 a week, expand insurance to gig workers and self-employed people, and increase the number of benefit weeks formally expire on date.
Schumer said Tuesday he wanted to keep his caucus together because Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Oppose a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour. A single democratic vote against the law would sink it.
“I pitched our entire caucus today and I said we have to get this bill passed, the American people, the American public are calling for it,” Schumer said. He later held up his flip phone when asked how he manages an evenly divided Senate.
The Senate MP is expected to decide this week whether Congress can pass a minimum wage increase as part of the budget reconciliation.
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