The Senate on Thursday unveiled a new version of a massive bailout package from Democrats after the House passed such a stimulus package last week.
Lawmakers made several changes to the bill, but two were particularly notable – narrowing eligibility for stimulus checks and not raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Much of the Senate legislation, however, largely mirrors the $1.9 trillion plan approved by the House and outlined by President Joe Biden in January.
Senate Democratic leaders face many obstacles to moving this legislation forward because the party cannot afford to lose a single member to a 50-50 split in the House. In addition, they must adhere to the strict reconciliation rules they use to approve the bill without any Republican support. Now the bill must pass by voice vote and go to Biden for his signature.
Under the plan, people earning less than $75,000 a year and married couples earning less than $150,000 would receive $1,400 per person, including children. That would give about 90 percent of families the opportunity to get help. Checks will be paid faster than previous times.
According to a recent study by The Century Foundation, an estimated 11.4 million workers will lose their unemployment benefits between mid-March and mid-April if Congress does not pass its next coronavirus relief package soon. The bill would extend two key pandemic unemployment programs through Aug. 29. It would also increase the federal weekly increase to $400 from the current $300.