• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference this week that Democrats hope to vote on Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill by the end of next week.
  • Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $400/week in unemployment assistance, $350 billion for state and local governments, and a $15 federal minimum wage.
  • Some of the provisions in the current legislation might not make it to the final bill.

When President-elect Joe Biden went to Atlanta ahead of the Senate runoff elections in January, he told Georgians that a new round of stimulus checks would “go out the door immediately to help people who are in real trouble” if they were to elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Georgia listened, and as a result, Democrats now control the Senate by the slimmest of margins, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.

As for Biden’s promise to get more stimulus checks “out the door immediately,” that has proven to be far more difficult than the president led us to believe. Biden will have been in office for a month this Saturday, and though we know the details of the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion relief package still has not received a vote in either chamber of Congress. According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that should change next week.

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On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi reiterated that Democrats plan to bring the COVID-19 relief bill to the House floor for a vote by the end of next week, while acknowledging that there are still hurdles to overcome:

It is – as you know, a couple of weeks ago, we passed the budget bill for reconciliation to protect the 51‑vote privilege. Then, last week, we wrote up the bill within that framework, within different committees of jurisdiction, honoring their amounts.

And then, that now has gone to the Budget Committee, which will consolidate all of that, make sure that it is, again, in keeping with what reconciliation allows. And that will then go to the Rules Committee for us to vote on sometime at the end of next week is my hope.

However, at the same time, there is communication with the Senate as to what the Byrd Rule will allow in the bills as we go forward. So, that’s kind of where we are on that.

Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $400 per week in unemployment assistance, $350 billion for state and local governments, and a $15 federal minimum wage.

With the budget reconciliation process, Democrats are able to pass a massive, sweeping piece of legislation without the 60 votes that would typically be necessary to beat a filibuster, but the Byrd rule that Speaker Pelosi referenced in her press conference ensures that every element of a reconciliation bill directly affects the federal budget. This is the rule that could end up dooming the $15 minimum wage provision in the current bill.

Aside from making good on President Biden’s promise, one of the reasons that Democrats are so desperate to vote on the bill as quickly as possible is because federal unemployment assistance provided by the last relief package will expire on March 14th. The longer it takes to pass the legislation, the more likely it becomes that some Americans will see vital unemployment benefits expire before the measures of the new bill take effect.

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Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.