THE Senate could pass the relief bill with $1,400 stimulus checks this week – but the $15 minimum wage looks as if it will be dropped.
The move would see President Joe Biden’s $1.9trillion Covid relief bill taking a step closer to coming into effect but it won’t include the so-called Plan B.
Plan B was drafted by Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden and would have penalized corporations that didn’t increase wages on their own.
The plan faced pushback in the Democratic caucus over complications about which companies would qualify and how the wage should be determined.
It became clear over the weekend those outstanding questions would take too long to work out and Democrats wanted to move quickly on the relief bill.
It’s hoped the Senate passes their version of the bill by the end of the week that would give the House time to re-pass the new version.
The US house of representatives passed Biden’s $1.9trillion Covid relief package including $1400 stimulus checks yesterday.
It would also give Biden time to sign it as well as the states a chance to readjust their unemployment benefts.
Democrat aides told CNN “it’s a strange feeling” after four years under Donald Trump.
It’s hoped the bill can be enacted by March 14 when a weekly federal enhancement in benefits is scheduled to expire.
Under the planned timescale Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would bring the package to the floor as soon as Wednesday and trigger 20 hours of debate.
After that voting takes place and it could be passed early Friday morning.
It will be a tough test for Schumer and the Democratic leadership with senior figures hoping the party stays united.
President Biden is due to join Democrats for a lunch Tuesday which he is expected to use as an opportunity for the need for unity.
While House progressives and outside groups have been vocal in their call for Vice President Kamala Harris to ignore the ruling of the Senate parliamentarian and pass the minimum wage anyway, it is not expected to happen.
The White House as well as the chief of staff have already said it.
In an official statement from the White House it said it was disappointed in the ruling on minimum wage, but respected the decision.
And, on a political level, Senate Democrats cannot lose Manchin and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, which is exactly what would happen if Harris ignored the parliamentarian.
Meanwhile, the IRS is hoping to create a formula to calculate how much of the maximum $1,400 each American will receive.
The formula would rely on adjusted gross income (AGI) would be based on a number of factors.
Those who earn up to $75,000 a year and couples who earn up to $150,000 a year would be eligible for the full payments of $1,400 or $2,800 respectively.
Payments would decline for people who earn more than those limits, and would completely phase out for individuals who earn more than $100,000 or couples who earn more than $200,000.
After the first round of stimulus checks that was approved in March 2020, it took IRS two weeks to start sending checks.
For the second round that was approved in December, checks were sent after about a week.
At the end of February Republicans called for the government to give $10,000 stimulus checks to all Americans.
Arizona Republican representative Paul Gosar has submitted an amendment which slashes non-relief spending to give American citizens $10,000 stimulus checks instead.
He told Fox News: “I offered an amendment to prioritize $10,000 stimulus checks to Americans most affected by Covid-19 and lockdowns.
Gosar submitted the plan in the hope to show that congress could give more cash back to the U.S.’s most financially vulnerable people by removing non-coronavirus funding.
Last week, the country recorded a grim milestone: more than 500,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Around 28.4million people have been infected with the virus in the US, according to the latest figures.
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