Early Saturday morning, the House passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. This is first major legislation that has passed the House under Joe Biden’s presidency. It was passed along party lines, 219-212. All but one Democrat were in the ayes and all the Republicans were in the nays.
Some of the highlights of the stimulus bill include stimulus checks of $1400 for individuals who earn up to $75,000 and for $2,800 for couples who earn up to $150,000. An additional amount of $1400 will be given for each dependent. The total amount, along with the $600 payments in December adds up to the Democrats’ promise of $2000.
The House bill includes $350 billion as federal aid to states and localities. It has set aside $130 Million for reopening of schools, $25 billion to help restaurant services, $1.5 billion for Amtrak and $28 billion for transportation systems.
The stimulus bill has kept aside money to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Money will be provided to distribute and administer vaccines. Some of it will also be spent to encourage people to get vaccinated. Funds will also be set aside to trace the virus spread specially due to mutations in the coronavirus which have had higher transmission rates. Health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will also be increased.
The legislation expects to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour throughout the nation. Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough said that it is not possible to include the wage increase in the Senate version. The Democrats have to find another way to pass this particular legislation through tax incentives or through penalties.
President Biden, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. are determined to get this minimum wage hike passed throughout the nation.
Wyden said, “We couldn’t get in the front door or the back door, so we’ll try to go in through the window.”