It’s A Big Week For Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan—Here’s What To Watch For
President Joe Biden’s $1.9 stimulus plan is entering a crucial week as Democrats press forward with a special budget reconciliation process that will allow them to pass the legislation over vehement objections from Republicans. Here’s everything you need to know.
On Monday, the House Budget Committee will meet to approve its version of the plan, which was assembled by separate committees within that chamber.
After that vote, the legislation will head to the Rules Committee and then to the House floor for a vote as soon as Friday.
Substantive changes are likely to come when the Senate takes up its own version of the bill in the coming days, especially given the gray area and lack of unanimous support surrounding one of Democrats’ key priorities: a $15 national minimum wage.
Senate lawmakers have begun meeting with the chamber’s parliamentarian, Politico reported, who will decide if the wage hike can be included under reconciliation rules that require each provision in the legislation to have a significant effect on the federal budget.
The House and Senate must reconcile the differences in their respective versions of the legislation before the final version can be sent to Biden’s desk.
Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, is one of many in the GOP who has argued that Biden’s plan is too expensive and who has objected to policies Republicans see as unrelated to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Critics say my plan is too big,” Biden said during a tour of a Pfizer plant in Michigan last week. “Let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What would they have me leave out?”
Biden’s $1.9 trillion American rescue plan includes another round of $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals, expanded federal unemployment insurance of $400 per week through the end of August, and a major expansion of the child tax credit. There’s also $130 billion for schools, $160 billion for coronavirus testing, tracing, and vaccines, roughly $7 billion for small businesses, and $350 billion for state and local governments.
What To Watch For
Democratic leaders have expressed confidence that the rescue legislation will make it to Biden’s desk before the current tranche of enhanced federal unemployment benefits expires on March 14 (less than three weeks from Monday) and more than 11 million workers lose their benefits. “We will meet this deadline,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y. ) wrote in a letter to colleagues last week.
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