House Democrats unveil text of COVID-19 relief bill

US President Joe Biden waves as he returns to the White House in Washingt

US President Joe Biden waves as he returns to the White House in Washingt

Biden said he was grateful that Congress is moving forward with getting the relief passed and said that he would still not rule out hearing ideas on how to make the package cheaper.

"With millions of Americans unemployed and demanding relief to reopen schools and get people back to work, House Republican leadership is demanding its members vote against a bipartisan plan to help struggling Americans", her office said in an email.

"We think it's very important to have a big package [that] addresses the pain this has caused - 15 million Americans behind on their rent, 24 million adults and 12 million children who don't have enough to eat, small businesses failing", Yellen told CNBC.

"My hope is that Republicans in Congress listen to their constituents", Biden said. In order for the bill to pass without unanimous Democratic support, at least one Republican would have to vote in favor. Despite modest efforts on Biden's part to court Senate Republicans, GOP lawmakers appear uniformly opposed to the legislation. Democrats want to get the plan through both the House and the Senate by mid-March, when expanded unemployment benefits from an earlier package are due to expire. Under complex Senate rules for consideration of the legislation, lawmakers are now awaiting guidance from the Senate parliamentarian on whether the minimum wage provision can even be part of the package.

"The Senate is on track to send a robust $1.9 trillion package to the president's desk before the March 14 expiration of Unemployment Insurance benefits. We will meet this deadline", Schumer wrote in a Friday letter to Senate Democrats. Because the IRS is also processing tax returns, it could take longer to send stimulus checks depending on how quickly the IRS processes the money. Coming on top of $600 stimulus payments approved in December, that would make good on Biden's promises of $2,000 stimulus checks to voters.

Analysts have questioned the need for the $350 billion for state and local governments in the plan after states brought in more revenue than had been expected when the pandemic first took hold a year ago.

"Next week, the House is expected to consider the almost $2 trillion package of progressive priorities Democrats have rushed to bring to the Floor", the Scalise whip notice said.

The 591-page Bill, stitched together by the House Budget Committee, would carry out Biden's proposals to provide additional money for Covid-19 vaccines and other medical equipment. The McConnell memo highlighted the minimum wage increase, among other issues.

"President Biden has been consistent in private and public about his commitment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is why he included it in his first major piece of legislation", said White House Director of Rapid Response Michael Gwin.

The U.S. Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats; Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the tiebreaker, giving Democrats a narrow majority in the chamber.

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