US COVID-19 Relief Bill Due For Final Approval Wednesday | News from the United States and Canada
Democrats in the United States House have predicted the final vote on the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program.
The United States House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to approve President Joe Biden’s sweeping $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus bailout for the United States, Democratic leaders said.
“This is a remarkable and historic transformative piece of legislation that goes a long way in crushing the virus and solving our economic crisis,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. the United States.
The Democratic-controlled House on Tuesday set procedures for approving the US Senate’s amended version of the $ 1.9 trillion spending bill.
President Joe Biden, who will sign the bill shortly after it is passed in the House, plans to deliver a speech to the nation on Thursday evening on the legislation and its agenda to lift the United States out of its pandemic crisis.
The bill provides direct payments of $ 1,400 to individuals, extends several US tax credits for working parents and extends a weekly unemployment benefit of $ 300 for unemployed workers for an additional five months.
This would increase the incomes of the poorest U.S. citizens by 20% and reduce taxes for middle-class families with children by an average of $ 6,000, according to new analysis from the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. .
While the tax breaks are temporary, Democrats are already considering legislation to make permanent the changes they say would halve child poverty in the United States.
“I’ve already thought about how we’re going to expand it and make it permanent,” said Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Tax Drafting Ways and Means Committee.
Politically, Democrats believe the legislation, by helping to end the pandemic, turn the economy around and provide relief to those who need it most, will help them win the 2022 election.
One of the provisions of the bill provides $ 5 billion in debt relief and subsidies for black farmers who have been disadvantaged by systemic racism and have lost control of their land in the century since the era of reconstruction.
“This is perhaps the greatest help black farmers have received since the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Representative Jim Clyburn, a Democrat.
The amended Senate bill that the House will vote on does not include an increase in the federal minimum wage to $ 15 per hour that the House previously approved.
But the bill includes more billions in new funding for social protection programs, satisfying progressives disappointed by the lack of a minimum wage hike.
Republicans lamented that the sweeping legislation, which was passed by Congress on fast-track procedures with only Democrat support, goes beyond support for COVID-19 relief.
“We could have had a bill that was a fraction of the cost of it that could have gotten bipartisan approval and support,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican No. 3 in the House.
“It’s not focused on COVID relief. It is focused on promoting the far left socialist agenda, ”said Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican Minority Whip.
At the same time, some Republicans have acknowledged that partisan pressure is preventing them from joining Democrats in supporting the bill, a move that could attract a challenger among the more tax-conservative elements of the Republican Party.
“Are you trying to make me a main opponent?” What’s the matter here, ”joked Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican in debate with Democrats seeking support in the House.
Hoyer predicted that Republicans would vote against the bill but take credit for the results.
“They will be there for the tape cuts and they will be there to say the schools are open and it’s not that great,” Hoyer said, who told reporters the House would begin debate on the final vote. on the bill at 9 a.m. EST. United States Time (2:00 p.m. GMT) Wednesday.