The House is preparing to vote this week on the next stimulus bill via a process known as budget reconciliation.
This process will allow Democrats to prevent a Senate filibuster and essentially allow them to pass the legislation without any Republican support.
There are still some members of the GOP trying to get Democrats to cut back on the stimulus checks.
However, Democratic leaders have become more vocal about the need for the $1,400 checks including Rep. Pamila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“If you raise those income thresholds, you’re going to cut out 40 million Americans who got a relief check under Donald Trump who won’t get a relief check under Joe Biden,” Jayapal said.
“That doesn’t make any political sense to me.”
“We just have people who are suffering, food banks with lines going around the block across the country,” she continued.
“We need to get money in people’s pockets. And this is the quickest way to do that.”
Democrats have also pointed to the popularity of stimulus checks and recent polls as yet another reason why they should be distributed.
But some in the GOP call the support into question and have essentially accused the polls of representing an overly biased stance (which makes sense).
“You don’t have to be a good pollster in Washington to ask the question, ‘Hey, would you like the federal government to send you a $3,500 check?’” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said.
“Of course the answer is going to be yes. If you said, ‘Do you want us to borrow that money from your children,’ because that’s what this is, I think their answer might be a lot different.”
“And especially if you told them a fact that there’s over a trillion dollars of money unspent from previous relief bills that were bipartisan.”
The spending concerns are very valid concerns but it doesn’t seem like Republicans have much of a say here.
Every indication is that this budget reconciliation method will go through and Democrats have the numbers to pass the legislation even if every Republican votes against it.
The lingering question will be what will happen to the increased federal minimum wage.
There may not be enough votes for Democrats to pass that measure (some moderates might not go for it) and there might even be legal technicalities that hold it up.
Either way, despite a lot of GOP opposition, I would expect the stimulus bill to pass the House next week in its current form or in a slightly modified form.
It will then be onto the Senate where the votes will be a little tighter but the bulk of the package will still probably go through.
Yesterday was a major day for the next stimulus package as a U.S. House of Representatives committee unveiled the legislation Democrats want to push forward.
The bill was put together by the House Budget Committee and it’s another large bill coming in at 591 pages.
The bill contains major provisions for additional funding for medical supplies, vaccine distribution, $1,400 checks, extended federal unemployment benefits, aid to state and local governments, and other components.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes that they can get a vote to take place in the House by the end of next week.
It is expected that the House will pass the bill without any major issues and the latest indication from the Senate is that most measures will also pass.
I say “most” because there is still still some controversy over some of the measures like the increased minimum wage that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 by 2025.
If there is any major provision that gets dropped from the stimulus package, that will probably be it.
The goal at this point is for the bill to become law before March 14.
This means that the third round of stimulus checks could be going out around March 21.
So if you are individual that had your income go down in 2020, you likely want to file your taxes pretty quickly so that by the time the IRS calculates the amount due to you, they will see your lower 2020 income.
Things are starting to look a lot better for people hoping to receive an additional $1,400 stimulus check.
While nothing is set in stone, it’s looking more likely than ever that these checks will pass through the House and likely through the Senate as well via the budget reconciliation route.
Also, the impeachment trial of former President Trump is now over which should allow lawmakers to focus more on the coronavirus relief package.
Unfortunately, both the House and the Senate are on a scheduled break this week so it is doubtful that we will see major progress take place until February 22nd.
Democrats still hope that they will be able to pass the relief bill later this month and are aiming for the bill to get through the Senate and approved by the president by mid March.
March 14 is actually the unofficial deadline that lawmakers have set. In the past these unofficial deadlines have not been stuck to very closely but in this case, we might actually see lawmakers act before the deadline.
That’s because Democrats should have the numbers to push through certain provisions such as the stimulus checks.
Other measures, like the increased federal minimum wage, might get a little tricky because of the rules involved so we might see piecemeal legislation passed rather than one large comprehensive package.
Getting the relief package figured out by the March 14th date would put the next round of stimulus checks arriving in mid to late March to early April.
Democrats just pushed key provisions of the next $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan through a House committee, making the package containing $1,400 stimulus checks one step closer to becoming a reality.
The Ways and Means Committee approved this $940 billion piece of Biden’s proposal on a 25-18 party-line vote.
This happened right after the Education and Labor Committee approved an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over a five year timeline.
There is still a lot of doubt that the federal minimum wage bill will pass although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reassured reporters that it will.
“Yes it will. We’re very proud of that,” Pelosi said.
The wage increase likely stands a better chance of passing in the House but as far as it getting through the Senate, that might be a different story.
Other measures included in the hospital will provide billions of dollars in relief for state and local governments and also booster vaccination efforts. There is also a considerable increase in the tax credits for children and an increase in unemployment benefits.
Republicans are attempting to combat some of these measures with amendments although they have been unsuccessful so far.
They have pointed to weak spots in the package such as the effect that the minimum wage increase would have on small businesses and they have proposed alternatives like granting an exception to small businesses for the minimum wage.
We’ve seen data come out that talked about the millions of employees who will likely lose their jobs if the minimum wage is increased. So there are certainly some major cons to some of these proposals to consider.
“I don’t know if the White House knows this, but you’re supposed to be creating jobs, not killing them,” said Texas Rep. Kevin Brady.
By appealing to these opposing interests, Republicans are also setting themselves up for the midterm elections in 2022.
Despite the objections from the GOP, Democrats are hoping that they will be able to pass the relief bill later this month and are aiming for the bill to get through the Senate and on the president’s desk by mid March.
They don’t seem to be too keen on compromising so unless some of their proposals like the minimum wage increase violate Congress rules, we will likely see them make a full bush for them.
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