House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R), Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (C), and Representative Steny Hoyer speak to the media after meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on October 16 US President Donald Trump met in 2019.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Democrats plan to approve their $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan next week and send it to President Joe Biden's desk for signature.
The Senate will be considering the parliament-approved version of the bill as early as Wednesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Said Tuesday. After up to 20 hours of debate and a marathon vote on amendments, the Senate can pass its laws.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Expects the Senate to approve the plan by Friday or Saturday. The upper chamber is expected to pass a different version of the auxiliary bill, so the house plans to meet again on Monday to approve the Senate-passed proposal.
Congressional Democrats want to bring the legislation to Biden before March 14th. A weekly unemployment insurance improvement of $ 300 and programs to expand unemployment benefits to an additional million Americans officially expire that day.
"We need strong relief to get the economy going so that it can continue its upward trend independently," said Schumer in the Senate on Tuesday. "That's what this bill is for."
Senate Democrats have yet to keep all of their members on board to get the bill through the Chamber this week. While the party plans to approve the package under budget balancing, which does not require Republican support, it cannot lose votes from its own ranks either.
Democrats still need to allay concerns within the party about the size of unemployment benefits and direct payments in the legislation, according to Politico. Additionally, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Is still trying to find a way to add a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour to the plan after the Senate-ruled legislature failed to include it as part of a reconciliation bill.
The party decided to remove a potential tax penalty that would force businesses to pay an hourly wage of $ 15 per hour, fearing it would delay the final passage of the bill.
Biden was supposed to get the Senate Democrats to approve the legislation when he called for a meeting with the caucus on Tuesday afternoon.
The bill passed by Parliament includes $ 1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, plus a weekly unemployment benefit allowance of $ 400 and an expansion of programs that extend unemployment benefits to an additional million Americans by August 29. It also expands the child tax credit for many households to $ 3,600 per child over a year and puts billions more into rental support for people struggling to stay in their homes.
The legislation also includes $ 20 billion for expediting Covid-19 vaccinations, $ 350 billion for state, local, and tribal aid, and $ 170 billion for K-12 schools and colleges for reopening and costs for supporting students.
No Republicans in the House voted for the proposal when it passed early Saturday, and two Democrats opposed it. Senate Republicans are also expected to vote against the bill.
The GOP has argued that the plan contains billions in wasteful spending that the country doesn't need to fight the virus or restart the economy. Republicans have particularly criticized the state and local aid and school funding elements of the plan.
After the House passed the plan on Saturday, Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Said the "Partisan vote reflected a deliberately partisan process and a missed opportunity to meet the needs of Americans."
Some Democrats believe that Congress needs to do more to provide direct aid after the $ 1.9 trillion plan is passed. Eleven Democrats are pushing Biden to include recurring checks and expanded unemployment benefits as part of the separate recovery package he plans to adopt later this year.
They want support to be tied to economic conditions so that support expires when the labor market improves, rather than at an arbitrary time.
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