The $ 1.9 trillion aid package is now in the hands of the Senate as Democrats look at the March 14 deadline.


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Democratic efforts to push a $ 1.9 trillion package through Congress to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic shifts the Senate this week as a mid-month deadline looms. Fresh from a House vote in the early hours of Saturday morning, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lost just two of her 221 members, Senate Democrats face a similar test of partisan unity in the Senate. divided into equal parts.

“Last week, the legislation was passed in the House of Representatives. This week the Senate will take the measure, ”Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday afternoon. “I look forward to a passionate debate and a few nights, but the American people sent us here with a job to do: to help the country in this time of extraordinary challenge, to end through action the greatest health crisis our country has ever seen. faced in a century. , “he said. Schumer’s Republican counterpart, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, said again that the bill was misdirected and too generous. Americans really need it right now, the Democrats decided their ideology should win out. ”Democratic leaders focus on the March 14 expiration of several pandemic-related unemployment programs as the deadline for final approval of the bill. That would require Senate approval sometime this week and final House approval next week, a tight but not unrealistic timeline. President Joe Biden met virtually with a group of Senate Democrats and an independent. who is meeting with Democrats, Senator Angus King of Maine, to discuss the bill on Monday. One of those present at that meeting, Senate r Tom Carper of Delaware later told reporters it was “a very good conversation,” but did not elaborate. Opinion: We should tax billionaires’ wealth to help pay for pandemic recovery The bill would provide a third round of direct payments to households, at $ 1,400 per eligible family member; the extension of the pandemic unemployment program, which includes an increase in the federal bonus payment to $ 400 per week from the current $ 300; money for state, local and tribal governments and a temporarily extended child tax credit. However, one provision that will be left out of the bill will be the provision to gradually increase the minimum wage from $ 7.25 an hour to $ 15 in 2025. The Senate MP has ruled that the language would not be allowed under a procedural rule that it governs what can be in budget reconciliation bills, which can be passed in the Senate with only 51 votes. That decision, made because of the so-called Byrd rule, was likely a preview of things to come in the Senate and potential bickering between House and Senate Democrats. The Byrd rule prohibits reconciliation bills from including provisions that have no budgetary impact or that have a “merely incidental” impact; that increase the deficit at 10 years; or that it originated in Congressional committees that did not have jurisdiction over the part of the law that would be changed. Liberal Democrats in the House had made raising the minimum wage a high priority and asked Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the latter in her role as Speaker of the Senate, to support the recall of the Senate MP, who decides whether to raise them. provisions violate the law. Byrd’s rule, based on the way the bill is written and past precedents. “We must act now to prevent tens of millions of hardworking Americans from continuing to receive insufficient pay. The outdated and complex Byrd rule based on restricting progress should not be an impediment to improving people’s lives. You have the authority to deliver a raise to millions of Americans, ”wrote a group of 23 House Democrats in a letter to Biden and Harris. The White House and at least one Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have rejected trying to override the MP, leaving Senate Republicans to examine the bill this week for other parties that could be affected by the Byrd rule. Because they require 60 votes to overcome, the Byrd rule challenges, which remove the offending provision from the bill, have historically been successful most of the time when handled by the minority party in the Senate. According to the Congressional Investigation Service, as of 2017, 62 of 72 challenges were fully or partially confirmed in the Senate. Motions to waive the Byrd rule to allow questionable items to remain on a bill succeeded only nine out of 59. Another tool for Republicans to change the bill in the Senate may be another round of branch voting, one day long. marathon series of quick votes on amendments. Senators hate the process as the amendments are only briefly explained in the room and they fear that their votes will be used in opponents’ campaigns in the future. “You know, vote-a-branches is unpredictable. And they are unmanageable. And they are horrible. So be prepared, ”said Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. The branch vote for the budget resolution that established the stimulus bill lasted until 5:38 am in early February. US stocks rose on Monday as a rapid rise in bond yields cooled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, + 1.95% closed 603.14 points higher on the day, while the S&P 500 SPX index, + 2.38% rose 90.67 points and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, + 3.01% rose almost 400 points.