Committees in the US House of Representatives continue to work on a COVID-19 relief package that Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she hopes will be completed by the end of the month.
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“We hope to finalize our markings in committee this week and then send it (the stimulus bill) to the budget committee next week so they can work their will on it, then to the rules committee, then to the floor, and we hope to have it all ready before the end of February,” Pelosi said last week.
The timing of the audits has made some eager for more government assistance, as other aid programs will be timed out in a few weeks.
If Pelosi is right about the timing of the bill leaving the House, individuals earning 75,000 and couples making up to $150,000 could see a stimulus check in late March or early April.
If the House votes on the bill in late February — about two weeks — and sends it to the Senate in the first week of March, the bill could go to President Joe Biden’s desk in days.
The process to pass the $1.9 trillion bill by the US Senate will be swift by Senate standards, as Democrats have issued a budget conciliation measure that would allow Democrats to pass the bill. without the support of the Republicans. It would take a simple majority of votes to pass the bill, rather than the 60 votes normally required to pass such legislation through the Senate.
Once Biden has received and signed the bill, the Internal Revenue Service will begin processing and sending the $1,400 checks via direct deposit to checking accounts and then by sending paper checks and debit cards.
It will take just days to get the direct deposit money into the accounts of millions of Americans who will by then have seen the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed nearly half a million lives in the United States.
It is estimated that those payments will be made in mid to late March or early April.
Congress leaders say they hope to have the package ready for Biden’s signature by March 14, when federal unemployment benefits run out. The stimulus plan extends unemployment benefits through August 29 and increases the payment to $400 from the $300 it currently stands at.
Nearly 800,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending February 6. That number was slightly lower than the week before, according to the Department of Labor.
Money is also expected to be drawn into the bill to help schools reopen, funding for vaccine distribution and $35 billion to help local governments boost small businesses.
Due to the conciliation measure, the bill should focus on legislation specifically aimed at boosting the economy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House is expected to pass legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. However, some say that an increase in the minimum wage has nothing to do with incentives and should not be included in a reconciliation law.
It is up to the Member of Parliament to determine whether an increase in the minimum wage can be included in the incentive bill according to the rules of a reconciliation law.
A group of 10 Republicans met with Biden earlier this month and called for a more focused approach to the next stimulus bill.
The GOP group suggested sending $1,000 for adults and $500 for children checks to individuals earning $40,000 a year or more and married couples with combined annual incomes of up to $80,000.
Cox Media Group