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This week, House Democrats plan to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, though it does not seem to have the support of any Republicans at this time. The House Budget Committee met Tuesday afternoon to tee up the legislation for a floor vote on Friday or Saturday, February 26 or 27. Unemployment benefits expire March 14, and Democrats in the Senate are hoping to finalize the legislation ahead of the deadline.

Republicans in Congress have expressed concerns over the package that they feel is not targeted enough towards COVID relief, specifically questioning the bill’s $15 minimum wage hike and $350 billion for state and local aid. Additionally, the bill has received scrutiny for seeking to provide a fix for multiemployer pension plans in distress, that would provide troubled pension plans with enough financial assistance to keep it solvent and funded for 30 years—with no cuts to the earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries. Plans that previously cut benefits would have to restore them to the retirees who earned them. In exchange, each plan would have to comply with certain conditions and report to PBGC. However, even if the House is able to pass, it is unclear if the Senate parliamentarian will rule these provisions in order under reconciliation rules.
Congress has already enacted roughly $3.7 trillion in COVID relief since last March to develop and distribute vaccines, save small businesses and fund schools in previous packages. As of last week more than $1 trillion of that assistance remains unspent or is still in the process of being disbursed, including $183 billion for another round of the PPP, $199 billion for health care, $136 billion for expanded unemployment insurance and $46 billion for direct stimulus payments.
With a slim majority and without Republican Support, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to ensure that moderates and progressives in her party toe the line and support the package.


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