Here’s Where $1,400 Stimulus Checks, $15 Minimum Wage And The Rest Of Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Rescue Plan Stand Today

Lawmakers in Washington are moving forward with President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, even amid a heated impeachment trial and over Republican objections. Here’s what you need to know. 

  • As part of the special budget reconciliation process that will eventually allow Democrats to pass much of Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan with a simple majority (and over Republican objections), multiple committees in the House of Representatives have spent the last week drafting, marking up, and approving separate pieces of the plan.
  • On Thursday night, the House Ways and Means Committee, approved a critical portion worth $940 billion that includes provisions for $1,400 stimulus checks and a major expansion of the child tax credit while the House Education and Labor Committee advanced a piece of the bill that would include a $15 national minimum wage on Wednesday.
  • The House Budget Committee is expected to begin work next week on wrapping those separate pieces into one cohesive bill, and that bill is expected to see a floor vote in the House the following week.
  • While the House pressed forward this week with its committee work on the rescue legislation, the Senate was absorbed by other business, including the impeachment trial of former President Trump and confirmation hearings for cabinet positions in the Biden administration. 
  • The Senate will also need to put forward its own version of a stimulus package, and any differences between the two bills must be resolved before the final legislation reaches Biden’s desk. 
  • Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told CNN that he is already expecting Democrats on the Senate side to tweak the House’s final bill: “We will probably agree with 90% of it and then make some changes.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday she believes the House will approve its version of the final package before the end of the month, and “certainly” have the bill “on the President's desk in time to offset the March 14th deadline where some unemployment benefits will expire.” 


A Democratic push to raise the national minimum wage to $15 per hour has become a flashpoint in the reconciliation process (as has the question of who should be eligible for a stimulus check). “I don’t know if the White House knows this, but you’re supposed to be creating jobs, not killing them,” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said of the progressive effort, according to the Associated Press. The Congressional Budget has estimated that provision in the plan will lift 900,000 out of poverty but cost 1.4 million jobs in the process. Two Democratic senators—Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—also oppose the minimum wage hike, which could mean the provision will change in the Senate version of the bill. Because of their razor thin majority in the Senate (50 senators plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote), Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote within the caucus. It’s also possible that the wage hike will be disqualified from inclusion in the final bill because of reconciliation rules that say every provision must be related, in some way, to the federal budget.

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