The House passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package on early Saturday, moving the legislation to the Senate for a vote where it likely will meet even more resistance.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 219-to-212 to pass the "American Rescue Plan." The package will now go to the Senate where it requires 51 votes to pass through reconciliation.
"This legislation is transformative, lifting 12 million Americans out of poverty and generating $1.25 for every dollar spent, and a great source of pride for us all because this legislation would cut child poverty in half," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said from the House floor on Friday evening before the vote. "As we advance this legislation, we will continue to fight for $15 [minimum wage]."
Support from the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate, along with Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, is needed to get the legislation through with Republican backing. But support from more moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — who have opposed the $15 minimum wage provision — is up in the air.
The House version of the bill included the minimum wage provision, but it may be stripped out from the final version the Senate votes on after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the measure can't be passed using the budget reconciliation process.
Without the provision, the legislation stands a better chance to pass through Congress easily, according to Mark Harkins, a former congressional staffer and senior fellow at Georgetown’s Government Affairs Institute.
"I would be shocked if a version of the relief package that fairly closely resembles the House package does not clear the Senate in the next week to 10 days," he told Yahoo Money. "This package has fairly wide support in polling and I don’t think Sen. Manchin wants to be seen as the roadblock to President Biden’s first major legislative item."
This spring, up to 11.4 million workers stand to lose their base unemployment benefits, while all out-of-work Americans could see the extra $300 in weekly benefits disappear if no stimulus deal is passed and three unemployment programs expire, an analysis by The Century Foundation found.
What's in the bill?
The legislation includes stimulus payments, the extension of key unemployment programs that are set to lapse in the spring, aid to small businesses, $350 billion to state and local governments, an increase in tax credits for low- and middle-income families, and $160 billion for a national program on vaccination and testing.
Eligible Americans would receive a $1,400 stimulus payment plus $1,400 for any dependent. Some high-income earners who were eligible for the stimulus payments under Biden's initial plan are not eligible for the payments under the latest proposal.
The extra weekly amount in unemployment benefits would be increased to $400 a week, up from the current $300, and would be extended through the end of August. Currently, they are set to expire on March 14. Biden's plan would also extend the program that provides jobless benefits to workers who typically don’t qualify for regular benefits.
The plan also would improve the Child Tax Credit (CTC), making it refundable and worth up to $3,000 per child — or $3,600 for a child under 6 — for 2021. The provision also allows American families to receive periodic payments for the credit for one year beginning in July. The eligibility requirements for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would also be expanded under the proposal.
The plan would also put in place a federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until the end of September and would allocate billions of dollars toward food insecurity.