Democrats push $1.9T coronavirus relief package through House

Democrats are making good on their promise to push President Joe Biden’s massive — and expensive — coronavirus relief proposal through Congress.

The Washington Examiner reports that the House voted 219–212 early Saturday to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal.

The late-night vote came down along party lines, with all Republicans voting against it and all but two Democrats — Reps. Kurt Schrader (OR) and Jared Golden (ME) — voting for it, according to the Examiner.

The version of the bill passed in the lower chamber includes a provision that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour nationwide by 2025, double the current minimum wage of $7.25, as Breitbart notes.

What’s next?

With the House’s blessing, the bill is now headed to the U.S. Senate, where it faces a tougher battle. Though Democrats are hoping to push the pricey package through the Senate using a process known as “budget reconciliation,” which requires only 51 votes to pass rather than the standard 60-vote majority, Dems only hold 50 seats in the upper chamber.

If the vote comes down 50–50, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote, reports note.

That would send the bill right to President Biden’s desk.

But there’s worse news still for Dems: the Senate parliamentarian has said the provision raising the minimum wage cannot be included in the package under current budget reconciliation rules, according to NPR. The decision serves as yet another hurdle for Democrats, who are already facing sharp pushback from Republicans over their after-midnight vote on Saturday.

Politics over people

“This bill should have been negotiated in a bipartisan manner, but hundreds of Republican amendments were shut down at every turn,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) said following the vote, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Clearly this legislation has more to do with politics than providing relief to the American people,” he added.

Davis’ comments echoed remarks made earlier in the week by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who blasted the bill as “a Pelosi Payoff.”

“Unfortunately, President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats chose to cut Republicans out of the process,” McCarthy said, according to Fox News. “After claiming on the campaign trail that he would be a ‘President for all Americans,’ President Biden has made zero attempt at bipartisanship.”

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