- Democrats want to pass President Joe Biden’s rescue package within weeks.
- Final passage could come in early March, before the expiration of enhanced unemployment insurance.
- Here is a stimulus timeline with possible floor votes.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Democrats aim to pass President Joe Biden’s $US1.9 ($2) trillion economic rescue plan in a matter of weeks.
The House Budget Committee approved the federal-aid plan in a party-line vote on Monday afternoon. It’s on course to get a floor vote on Friday, according to Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader.
Here’s the Democratic calendar for coronavirus relief, based on statements from Democratic officials:
- February 26: The House will vote on the bill, called the American Rescue Plan.
- March 2 to 5: The Senate takes up the legislation and possibly amends it before a vote.
- March 8 to 12: The House votes on the rescue package again if the Senate makes legislative changes.
Democrats have a narrow margin of error. They are pledging to enact the package before March 14, the date that enhanced unemployment benefits for millions of Americans start ending.
Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, told Insider Democrats would “do our damnedest to meet it.”
The House proposal would also provide $US1,400 ($1,769) stimulus checks and $US400 ($505) federal unemployment benefits through August. It includes funding for vaccine distribution and virus testing, aid for state and local governments, and a minimum-wage increase to $US15 ($19) over time.
Still, some key hurdles remain in the Senate. Democrats are using a process called reconciliation, which allows them to pass a budgetary bill with only 51 votes, instead of 60.
The Senate parliamentarian governing the procedure may rule the wage increase is unrelated to the federal budget and strike down the provision, and possibly set back the timeline. The measure must clear a series of requirements, including that it would have a substantial impact on federal spending, the debt, and revenues over ten years.
On the other hand, the wage increase’s sponsor, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee chairman, obtained a letter from the Congressional Budget Office saying it would have a sizable influence on the budget over a decade.
In recent weeks, Biden has downplayed the odds the increase will survive the process, though he still supports the measure. Sanders said he expected a ruling from the parliamentarian either late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Republicans are uniformly opposed to the Biden plan. They say it is too costly and that a previous round of aid enacted in December still hasn’t been fully tapped.
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