House Democrats made an advance in their effort to push a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. They released the full bill text, including an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans earning $75,000 or less per year, more financial assistance for small businesses grappling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an extension of $400 federal unemployment benefits.
COVID-19 Relief Plan
The legislation had already been passed in pieces out of individual committees. It was packaged together by the House Budget Committee.
They released the full text of the 591-page bill on the massive pandemic relief package on Friday. According to House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, "This reconciliation bill is the next step toward implementing the American Rescue Plan and finally changing the direction of these crises. Without this relief package, conditions will spiral further out of control and families will suffer needlessly. Multiple variant strains of the novel coronavirus are now infecting Americans across the United States, and our vaccine rollout and efforts to contain the virus are in desperate need of resources," reported Fox 5.
Yarmuth added, "We are in a race against time, and aggressive, bold action is needed before our nation is permanently scarred by the human and economic costs of inaction."
The bill would implement President Joe Biden's proposals to offer additional funding for novel coronavirus vaccines and other medical equipment.
Biden toured a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan. This is in the midst of efforts to bolster production. Only an estimated 15 percent of the United States population have been inoculated against the coronavirus so far, reported Yahoo Finance.
The bill also involves $350 billion in state and local government relief. Funding will be provided to help reopen schools and for vaccine dissemination, among other measures.
The piece of legislation is similar to President Biden's American Rescue Plan. On Friday, Biden defended the size of the $1.9 trillion package during a speech at the Michigan Pfizer plant.
According to the president, "Critics say my plan is too big. That it costs $1.9 trillion. They say that's too much. Let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What would they have me leave out?" reported Newsweek.
The major components of the large aid plan focus on stimulating the country's economy. The U.S. economy has struggled over the past year under shuttered businesses and job layoffs, resulting from a pandemic that has recorded nearly 500,000 American fatalities. The plan would provide direct payments to households, state and local governments, and other measures.
The panel will take up the bill on Monday. It is slated to go to the House floor for a vote later in the following week. Democrats have a thin margin for the passage of the bill. Republican leaders have already started whipping their members against it. They contend it spends too much money.
Previously this week, Democrats beat back hundreds of amendments from Republicans who were dubious that the bill's spending is more than necessary. They argue it is designed to advance policy priorities beyond helping U.S. citizens get through the pandemic.