The U.S. House passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan early this morning in a near-party line vote. The vote was 219 to 212, with Democrats pushing the measure over unanimous Republican opposition. Two Democrats crossed party lines and voted with Republicans against the bill.
18th District Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says this morning that the package was purposely designed to pass through budget reconciliation without Republican input. LaHood says it was designed that way to pass through the Senate on just a majority vote. LaHood believes that President Biden and House and Senate Democrats designed the package to circumvent any Republican changes or input.
13th District Congressman Rodney Davis said in a press release this morning that vast sums of relief in the bill isn’t targeting actual COVID-19 relief and won’t be spent immediately.
Republicans used the reconciliation twice in 2017 to steer around Democratic opposition to $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and an attempt to attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act that failed.
Despite his disagreement with the process, LaHood says there are some good things in the bill meant to provide relief to the country ravaged by the effects of COVID-19. LaHood failed to outline which things he agreed with in the bill in a press release this morning, instead citing concerns over skyrocketing national debt. Davis says he’s in favor of strengthening the national vaccine program, reopening public schools, and providing relief to families and businesses. Davis says the bill will actually put more people out of work, citing information published by the Congressional Budget Office.
The plan would provide $1,400 direct payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 a year and to couples earning up to $150,000. It would also expand a weekly federal unemployment benefit that is set to lapse in mid-March, increasing the payments to $400 a week from $300 and extending them through the end of August. It would increase the child tax credit; provide more than $50 billion for vaccine distribution, testing and tracing; and allocate nearly $200 billion to primary and secondary schools and $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments.
The biggest hurdle in the Senate lingers around the inclusion of hiking the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The Senate is likely to cut it from the House’s package prior to approval before sending it to the House for a final vote sometime within the week.