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The massive $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Americans widely anticipate that he has reached the Senate floor. The measure is loaded with provisions to help the public. The bill includes in particular:
- A third round of dunning checks, this time valued at $ 1,400 each
- Improved and extended unemployment benefits – in particular, a weekly boost of $ 400 through the end of August
- A more generous child tax credit
- Rental assistance
- Expanded dietary benefits, including an extension of the P-EBT program, which replaces meals for students who do not receive them at school
- Help for small businesses, including a special restaurant grant program, which have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic
- Increased Medicare Subsidies
One feature that was not included in the bill is a increase in the minimum wage. President Joe Biden initially pushed for a provision that would gradually increase the minimum wage from his current $ 7.25 an hour to $ 15 by 2025, but a Senate parliamentarian ruled that because the Relief is advanced through a process known as budget reconciliation, an increase in the minimum wage is not eligible for inclusion in the current cycle of legislation.
Republicans are not happy
Democratic lawmakers need a simple majority to pass their bill, which means it can move forward without the support of Republicans. But many Republican lawmakers are unhappy with the bill, and some may attempt to make the process of passing it as unpleasant as possible. Case in point – Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin forced Senate clerks to read the entire bill aloud, a process that began Thursday afternoon and is expected to take 10 hours in total.
The purpose of this, however, was not necessarily just theatrical – many Republican lawmakers firmly believe the bill is far too comprehensive, and they fear that large spending on additional relief could lead to a cash shortage across the board. line. Opponents of the bill have pointed to the falling unemployment rate as a reason to consider reducing the scope of any incoming aid, although it is interesting to note that the unemployment rate is still much higher than it is. was not before the start of the pandemic.
Democrats, meanwhile, have already reduced the scope of the relief plan since its initial presentation, to the point that an estimate 12 million Americans will no longer be eligible for a dunning check of any kind. This week, Biden agreed to lower the thresholds at which stimulus payments are completely cut, and they currently stand at:
- $ 80,000 for individuals
- $ 120,000 for heads of families
- $ 160,000 for married couples
Lawmakers hope to vote on the new relief bill over the weekend, and if that happens, stimulus checks could easily reach Americans Bank accounts in mid-March. While the President wants to deliver aid as quickly as possible, there is also a specific clock that lawmakers are working against – the fact that extended unemployment benefits under the latest relief bill must expire d ‘by March 14. The only way to avoid a gap in payments for those who receive these benefits is to sign a new relief bill in time to allow for continuity, which is why Democratic lawmakers are doing all they can to avoid delays.
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