The U.S. House of Representatives will take up by Wednesday the Senate version of the sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package backed by President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday.
Closing in on final approval of one of the biggest spending bills, Democrats aim to enact the massive legislation by Sunday, when enhanced federal unemployment benefits are set to expire.
The Senate passed its version of the bill after a marathon overnight vote on Saturday. The Senate version eliminated or pared back some provisions included in the House bill, which had increased the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and extended expanded jobless assistance through Aug. 29.
Now that it has passed the Senate, it must be approved again by the House before it can make its way to Biden’s desk and be signed into law.
Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol that the timing of a vote on the House floor “depends on when we get the paper from the Senate.”
“We’d take it up Wednesday morning at the latest,” she said.
Like the Senate, Democrats hold a very narrow majority in the chamber, meaning they cannot withstand many votes against the bill.
The first version of the bill passed in the House without a single Republican vote. Two moderate Democrats joined Republicans in voting against that version. One of them, Representative Kurt Schrader of Oregon, said on Monday he would now vote for the bill with the Senate changes.
“My concerns remain on the size and scope of this bill but believe the Senate changes provide meaningful relief for Oregonians in need,” Schrader wrote on Facebook.
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“Funding for our local governments, small businesses, schools, families, healthcare providers and an extension on unemployment benefits will be a lifeline for many,” he said of the legislation.
Republicans have criticized the price tag of the Biden relief package, not to mention all of the pork that is in it.
DIRECT PAYMENTS: $400 BILLION – A new round of payments to Americans of $1,400 per person to individual taxpayers earning less than $80,000 annually and couples making less than $160,000.
AID TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: $350 BILLION – Essentially bailout money for not managing their states well in the first place, benefiting places like California, Illinois and New York who have had mass exodus with crazy taxes and draconian Covid measures.
CHILDCARE: $56 BILLION – About $55 billion would be spent on childcare programs and $1 billion for the early learning Head Start program. In addition, a child tax credit would be expanded, resulting in a revenue loss of about $109 billion.
SCHOOLS: $170 BILLION – Sounds like pandering to the teachers unions for schools to reopen, not to mention bailing out colleges and universities that are overpriced bastions of progressive, anti-first amendment snowflakes.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: $163 BILLION – Jobless people would get a new round of federal payments amounting to $300 per week through Sept. 6. The first $10,200 in benefits would not be taxed cause why not?
PUBLIC HEALTH: $109 BILLION – This includes expanded COVID-19 testing, tracing and genomic sequencing would cost $49 billion; and $35 billion to expand the Affordable Care Act cause it’s working so well!
SMALL-BUSINESS AID: $48 BILLION – Targeted small-business grants would total $15 billion; $25 billion in a new grant program for restaurants; $7 billion for Paycheck Protection Program aid for non-profits and digital news services; $1 billion for theaters, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.
HOUSING ASSISTANCE: $45 BILLION – Households would get help paying rent, mortgages and utilities and homeless people would be placed into housing. The government estimates that 12 million people owe an average of $5,800 in back rent and utilities.
On Friday, as the Senate vote was still under way, House Democratic lawmaker Bonnie Watson Coleman said she was “disgusted” by some of the changes in the Senate bill and questioned if she could support it. A spokesman for her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Representative Pramila Jayapal, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters she thought members of the group would back the legislation, which she described as “phenomenal” and in keeping with most of its members’ priorities.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki praised the legislation at a news conference, saying that while there were some changes on the margins, it represented the “core” of what Biden originally proposed.
It’s only money right?
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org