US House plans vote on COVID-19 aid bill on Friday

Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mc Connell of Ky. walks on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday Feb. 23 2021

Signs reading "Help Still Wanted" are positioned on the lawn outside the U.S. Capitol on January 5.

The stimulus package is expected to get its first vote in the House on February 26.

The push to pass the package before the end of the month is due to the contents of the relief bill: extended unemployment benefits, which are now set to expire on March 14; stimulus checks for qualifying Americans; state and local aid and money for vaccination efforts.

Stimulus checks can't be sent out until the relief package is passed.

Republicans strongly oppose the plan, arguing it contains a litany of progressive priorities. "But Democrats want to double-down on band-aid policies like they're planning for another year of stagnation instead of trying to set up success", Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Besides the additional funding for medical supplies, major components of the massive aid plan focus on stimulating the country's economy, which has struggled over the past year under job layoffs and shuttered businesses resulting from a pandemic that has killed almost 500,000 Americans.

Republicans oppose the measure as too costly and say its policies are geared more toward keeping the US economy closed than moving ahead to accommodate business and economic needs and reopen schools.

Here's a look at some of the more closely watched elements of the legislation.

One of the most controversial provisions is the phased increase of the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

Over the weekend, Sen.

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The House Budget Committee is set to meet Monday to weigh amendments to the bill before sending it to the full House for debate and passage.

Should a single Democrat vote against the relief package it would prevent it from getting through a Senate split 50-50 by party. However, President Biden has pushed back against that.

At this point, $1,400 checks would be mailed to those who make $75,000 or less. The payments would be reduced for individuals earning over that amount but under $100,000 or more per year.

The bill would provide one-time $1,400 payments to millions of low- and middle-income people, increase child tax credits that could be paid in advance and monthly and provide extra $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits through August. People earning above the cap aren't eligible for a payment. He answered indirectly when asked if he'd be willing to compromise to keep the plan in the overall bill. Another $3 billion was set aside for Washington, D.C., and USA territories. "It also includes a number of things that have absolutely nothing to do with COVID relief, and so it will be controversial". "This almost $2 trillion "stimulus" package is neither targeted nor a stimulus".

Elementary and secondary schools: Over $128 billion in grants to state educational agencies, with 90% allocated to local educational agencies. Public and private nonprofit institutions receiving relief will be required to spend at least half of the funds on emergency financial aid grants to students.

Advocates say the new formula ensures the money goes where it is needed, as COVID-19's toll has been uneven across the country.

The CARES Act distributed $140 billion to state and local governments based on population, delivering a minimum of $1.25 billion to each state. And it extends enhanced unemployment benefits through September. Allocates $25 million to promote technological improvements to modernize the program.

This time around, Democrats have lowered the per-state minimum to $500 million.

Transportation: $30 billion for transit costs, including payroll and PPE.

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