Democrats on Friday advanced a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and releasing the full bill text which includes an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, $1,400 direct checks for Americans making $75,000 or less a year, an extension of $400 federal unemployment benefits and more money for small businesses.
Included in the House bill is a controversial proposal to gradually raise the federal minimum wage, now set at $7.25 an hour, to $15 by 2025.
The provision faces multiple difficulties: Republicans oppose it and at least two moderate Senate Democrats have warned they, too, would vote against it, which would sink the wage increase in a Senate split 50-50.
The House Budget Committee is set to meet Monday to weigh amendments to the bill before sending it to the full House for debate and passage.
Earlier on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said his deeply divided chamber will pass the bill before March 14, before federal unemployment benefits expire.
While Schumer said he welcomed “constructive amendments” by Republicans, he added in a letter to rank-and-file Democrats: “Make no mistake: the era of Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard is over.”
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The American public is with President Joe Biden now. The Covid-19 relief package with its direct payments to families and financial aid for businesses, the unemployed and local governments grants is backed by 70% of Americans, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.