Joe Biden's COVID relief plan will get a House vote Friday, but it awaits a Senate divided over bill's size, scope
WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden's $ 1.9 trillion plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including $ 1,400 checks, is likely to get closer to law on Friday - but it will stand in the divided Senate, which will host the Legislators arguing over major, rudely received aspects of the legislation.
The democratically controlled house is ready to pass the American rescue plan on Friday in a largely partisan vote. That could be the easy part.
In a 50-50 Senate, questions about the scope and size of a bill that can bring billions in billions to financially troubled local and state governments to help reopen schools and more than double the federal minimum hourly age to $ 15 could be a profound one Reforms of the law force legislation or jeopardize its passage.
That debate is set to start in earnest next week, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., pleaded with colleagues to take "courageous and determined" action against the pandemic by passing the President's initiative despite the death toll and coronavirus infections are falling.
"We can't slow down before the race is won," he said in the Senate on Thursday.
Despite the call for unity and the president's push for bipartisanism, the bill is unlikely to receive support from the GOP.
More: 5 charts show the huge gap between Biden's proposals for Republicans' coronavirus aid
Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of the senators behind a $ 618 billion counterproposal, said she didn't expect a single Republican to support the larger package "even if we can make some beneficial changes to make ".
"The government has shown no willingness to drop from its $ 1.9 trillion and that is a major obstacle," she said on Tuesday.
More: Where Biden's COVID-19 Plan, Including Emergency Controls, Is In Congress; House to vote Friday
Passing the relief bill may have become easier Thursday night as the Senate MP ruled that a provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 cannot be included in the bill as part of the budget process used.
While the ruling disappointed Democrats, including Biden, it removes a potential stumbling block that could have sunk the final passage.
Two Democratic senators - Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona - said they would not support raising the minimum hourly wage from $ 7.25 to $ 15 by 2025, as the Democratic leaders suggested. And it seems that the president needs every Senate Democrat to back the package if it is to pass.
President Joe Biden urges a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package.
Biden's sweeping legislation would send another round of checks to most Americans - this time for $ 1,400 (Republicans countered for $ 1,000). It would extend a federal unemployment benefit bonus through August, increasing the amount to $ 400 a week (Republicans want $ 300 a week through June). And it would send $ 350 billion to state and local governments (Republicans oppose such a "bailout").
Republicans disagree with the amount of aid the Biden Plan would provide to reopen schools and assist tenants and landlords. Both sides agree on the amounts to be earmarked for small business support (US $ 50 billion) and vaccine development, distribution and related needs (US $ 160 billion).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Joins other Democrats and activists in pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour at the Capitol on July 18, 2019.
Critics said the legislation goes beyond its core mission of helping COVID-19. That way, she risks spike in inflation that could hurt economic recovery or add further $ 28 trillion to the country's debt, leaving little political will for other major investments and lowering the cost of credit for consumers and businesses soaring.
More: If The Economy Heals, Is Biden's $ 1.9 Billion Aid Package To COVID-19 Too Much?
"While the package is filled with good ideas and important priorities, it is fair to say that it could be much better targeted," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Federal Responsible Budget Committee (CRFB), a nonprofit oversight group.
The CRFB identified more than $ 310 billion in spending that it said had little to do with the pandemic and $ 500 billion that could be cut without fundamentally changing the package.
Others said the American rescue plan was an adequate response to a health crisis that sparked the worst recession in US history, leaving 10 million Americans jobless, leaving millions of others out of work, and closing hundreds of thousands of small ones despite a robust partial recovery Companies.
"The president believes this is a package that will help bring the pandemic under control. It will help get people back to work," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday. "This is a plan to which he remains committed, and he hopes that Republicans, many in Congress, will follow what their constituents want. And the American people clearly want this bailout plan passed. They clearly want." Money for vaccinations. They clearly want schools reopening and funding for schools reopening. And they clearly want direct controls. "
Contributor: Paul Davidson
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: COVID Relief: Joe Biden's bill is about to be voted in the House of Representatives and the Senate Resistance
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