Panama City, FL –
WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – With House Budget Committee pushing forward a 591-page, $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Monday, many wonder if they will qualify for the promised $ 1,400 stimulus checks included in the proposal.
The short answer from now on: if you received a check in the last round, you will also receive one this time.
While that may change as the measure reaches the plenary chamber and then the Senate, the current plan keeps income thresholds at the same level for that last payment of $ 600.
If you need a reminder, anyone who made $ 75,000 or less will receive the full amount – and couples who earn $ 150,000 or less will receive $ 2,800 in relief payments. As your income level rises above these thresholds, the amount you will receive decreases. The current plan calls for a phase-out of direct payments for singles earning $ 100,000 and couples earning $ 200,000.
Republican leaders and even some Democratic lawmakers have called for and proposed lower thresholds to ensure direct payments target Americans who need them most. However, President Joe Biden pushed this off.
“Now is the time we should be spending. Now is the time to make it big, ”Biden said at a CNN event last week.
In addition to these payments of $ 1,400, the proposal includes an increase in child tax credits and offers an additional weekly federal unemployment benefit of $ 400 until August. It would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments, closed schools, COVID-19 vaccines and tests, and struggling airlines and other businesses.
While Democrats had the majority needed to push through the deal, it was not an easy process.
The slim 10-vote Democrats in the House leave little room for defections in the face of strong Republican opposition, and they have none in a 50-50 Senate they control only with the decisive vote of the Deputy. President Kamala Harris. Internal democratic disputes remain over increasing the minimum wage, the amount of aid to be funneled to struggling states and local governments, and whether to extend emergency unemployment benefits for another month.
But at this point, Democrats across the party spectrum are showing little indication that they are prepared to embarrass Biden with a high-profile loss a month into his presidency.
Such a setback would deal the first blows to Biden, new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and California Democrat Nancy Pelosi in what could be her final term as Speaker of the House. It could also hurt Congressional Democrats as a whole by risking repercussions in the 2022 election if they fail to unite effectively against clear enemies like the pandemic and the frozen economy.
“You think very seriously before you vote against the legislative program of the president of your own party,” said Ian Russell, a Democratic consultant. But he warned that lawmakers must decide “for themselves how their vote will play out” at home.
The issue that has caused the deepest divisions is a progressive push to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour over five years. The current minimum of $ 7.25 came into effect in 2009.
“It was the # 1 priority for progressives,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in an interview last week. “It’s something we ran on and something we promised the American people.”
A comprehensive relief bill, including raising the minimum wage, should wipe out the House, and possibly the Senate as well. But the fate of the minimum wage hike is uncertain in the Senate, where Joe Manchin of West Virginia, perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the chamber, said $ 15 was too expensive. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Suggested she might oppose it as well.
Even more worrying, the parliamentarian of the Senate is expected to vote soon on the question of whether the provision relating to the minimum wage should be removed from the bill. Under fast-track procedures Democrats use, items that aren’t primarily budget related can’t be included, and it’s unclear whether Democrats would have the votes to overturn such a move.
Yet with every Democrat having leverage because virtually all votes are needed, there have been no overt threats to abolish the entire bill unless they get their way.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Principal sponsor of his chamber’s minimum wage, said Democrats must “act boldly” and approve a package with the increase in the minimum wage. He responded indirectly when asked if he would be willing to compromise to keep the plan in the comprehensive bill.
“Every Democrat understands that at this time in history, this unprecedented time of pain and suffering for working families, it is absolutely imperative that we stand behind the President, do what the American people want and that we were adopting this package, ”he said in a statement. interview.
Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., One of the House’s top moderates, also expressed his distaste for intractable demands. The path to success is “doing all you can to get as much as you can now as you want, not compromising your principles and knowing that tomorrow is another day,” he said.
Republicans said the measure’s higher minimum wage and increased unemployment benefits would cost jobs or discourage people from looking for work, and said much of the spending was a waste.
“This is not the right plan for the American working class,” said Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., The leading Republican on the budget panel. Across the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said Democrats were advocating “band-aid policies as if predicting another year of stagnation, instead of try to succeed.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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