THE proposed $1,400 stimulus checks could be further delayed because of a stumbling block in President Joe Biden’s $1.9trillion relief package.
In addition to another round of checks for eligible Americans, the package also includes a provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
A stimulus package could be further delayed because of a key provisionCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Members of Congress have signaled that they are ready to re-focus on Biden’s stimulus plan now that the second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump ended in acquittal.
However, the minimum wage hike may spell trouble when it comes to getting Republican support for the package.
A few Democrats have also suggested that they do not believe the provision belongs in a Covid relief package as well.
Last week, Iowa Sen Joni Ernst passed a proposal that would ban a minimum wage increase during the pandemic.
Not all Democratic lawmakers currently support the federal wage hikeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
At lest two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, have said they will not back the wage increase, according to Bloomberg.
Failing to have complete Democratic support means that the bill will not likely pass the Senate, which is split 50-50 down the party line.
The House Budget Committee is preparing to assemble bills approved in committee to prepare a stimulus package for a vote on the House Floor during the week of February 22.
Both the House and the Senate are on recess this week.
President Joe Biden has been slammed for the delay in stimulus paymentsCredit: EPA
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she will send the bill to the Senate as soon as it passes the House, and that she is hopeful that a package will arrived on Biden’s desk for approval by the end of February.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly looking for ways to speed up the approval process once the bill reaches the Senate.
Democrats have expressed urgency to pass a new package before federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14.
Ten Republicans have floated the idea of a $618billion stimulus proposal instead, which keeps Biden’s plans for school and vaccine funding, but dials back the cash for some other parts of the bill like unemployment and stimulus checks.
Biden has suggested that he may be flexible on the minimum wage provision, which will hike the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2025.
However, the president seems less likely to negotiate on the $1,400 stimulus payments.
Biden has been taking heat lately for failing to get another round of stimulus checks out to Americans during his first few weeks in office.
While he was campaigning for Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Senate runoff elections, Biden said that voting in the two Democrats would help get Americans stimulus checks “immediately.”
Even with Ossoff and Warnock in the Senate, giving Democrats a simple majority, a package with stimulus payments has yet to get approval.