President Biden’s $1.4 trillion relief legislation is moving through Congress at a quick pace, even with a controversial proposal for $1,400 individual stimulus checks still intact.
Officially called the American Rescue Plan, Biden’s proposal includes funds for state, local, and tribal government unemployment compensation; while also offering $600 billion for vaccine assistance.
Although previous attempts to pass stimulus legislation in the final weeks of the Trump Administration proved unsuccessful, with various lawmakers pushing for different sized relief checks, and Trump himself changing his stand on the subject, Biden has said the $1,400 amount is not negotiable.
“I’m not cutting the size of the checks,” Biden told reporters. “They will be $1,400 period. That’s what the American people were promised.”
The amount of pandemic-specific relief will be higher, however, because along with the $1,400 is the $600 in unemployment relief earlier approved by Congress.
The exact requirement specifications for who will receive a $1,400 check is currently fluid, with some members of Congress proposing a lowering of the income cap in terms of eligibility.
It is not known if the relief legislation will also include a raising of the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15.00, or if an earlier Biden proposal to cancel as much as $10,000 in individual student loan debt will additionally make it through both chambers.
A just-released study by the Congressional Budget Office says that while a $15.00 an hour wage would lift nearly 1 million people out of poverty, it could also cause 1.4 million people to lose their jobs.
As it now stands there are exactly a dozen House committees tackling different aspects of the stimulus legislation in preparation for an anticipated final vote on February 22. At that point the legislation will be taken up in the Senate.
By Garry Boulard
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