Four House committees on Wednesday are expected to further hammer out the details of President Biden’s stimulus package, as Democrats race to send the $1.9 trillion plan to his desk before unemployment benefits begin to lapse in mid-March.
After a marathon session that began on Tuesday and lasted more than 12 hours, the House Education and Labor Committee completed its portion of the economic aid package, providing billions of dollars for schools, health care subsidies and food assistance programs. The package also includes a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage to $15.
Republicans spent the hearing lobbying for amendments that would curtail a minimum-wage increase and impose requirements for school reopenings. The amendments were shot down in a string of votes along party lines early in the morning.
Democrats are poised to advance the stimulus bill as a reconciliation bill, which requires only a simple majority to pass and thus could be enacted without Republican support, if necessary. It remains unclear if the provision that would increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 can prevail through the rules of the reconciliation process, which imposes strict parameters to prevent abuse of the process.
House leaders hope to complete the entire package, which will include bills from nine separate committees, this week. Their counterparts in the Senate, who will have to maneuver a far more complex parliamentary process to approve the legislation, remain embroiled in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump.