Senate Democrats push for recurring COVID-19 stimulus checks

04 Mars, 2021, 03:18 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • President Joe Biden listens on Monday during a virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington D.C

Two Democratic sources said the Senate bill is expected to keep the benefits at $400 per week through the end of August. The House bill extends the benefits through August 29, but progressives like Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) have been fighting to extend them through September. The Senate is using the budget reconciliation process to pass the bill, which limits time for debate and allows legislation to pass with a simple majority.

Democrats are rushing to pass the economic aid bill before the latest round of pandemic-related unemployment access expires March 14 for up to 10 million Americans. The Washington Post reports that the president and Senate Democratic leaders have agreed to narrow the eligibility for checks in the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package: individuals earning up to $75,000 and households earning up to $150,000 would get the full $1,400 payment; partial payments would go to individuals who make up to $80,000 a year and couples who make up to $160,000. She told reporters her state's tourism industry has been walloped by the pandemic and said she's talked to administration officials about "how this helps a state like Alaska". Traditionally, the minority party has used a "vote-a-rama" to put political pressure on the majority by attempting to pass controversial amendments.

Narrowing eligibility for the stimulus checks was just one change moderates like Shaheen and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) had been seeking.

"The whole idea of targeting is ludicrous because we're talking about wealth or income statistics from 2019", Ms. Jayapal said.

The Senate can not simply pass the House bill. And I think you are going to see some progressive Democrats who are upset about these changes that fewer people will be getting stimulus checks.

Yet asked if the change could threaten the overall bill, Pocan said, "Let's hope they don't screw too many things up". We have to get our economy back on track.

While some Democrats are still pushing to include a mandatory minimum wage hike to $15 per hour, the version of the bill that's now in the Senate no longer has the wage increase - the result of a procedural ruling last week that said the issue can not be part of the stimulus bill. "We need to get this done".

The letter cites multiple precedents from the 1960s and 1970s in which the Senate parliamentarian's ruling did not impact the chamber's final decision. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said.

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The House version of the relief checks would cost $422 billion, making them the package's single most expensive item.

The two chambers' bills are largely similar, with both bearing money for state and municipal governments, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, schools, health care subsidies and tax breaks for children and lower-earning people.

Republicans continued lashing the bill as an overpriced Democratic wish list of liberal causes that lavishes help on many who don't really need it.

"Democrats had a choice", McConnell said. Are they anxious about the optics of ... giving checks to middle-class families? "This is an American wish list". Senators can offer as many amendments as they want.

Slowly, the Senate bill's contours were taking shape.

Among the 10 senators signing the letter were five former Democratic presidential candidates - Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, now the Senate Budget Committee chair - as well as Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown of OH and Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden of Oregon.

To move quickly, the Senate is using a process called reconciliation, which requires just 51 votes to pass legislation.



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