House Democrats unveil text of COVID-19 relief bill

The House is expected to vote on the newest round of COVID-19 relief next week. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

Feb. 20 (UPI) — House Democrats on Friday unveiled the text of their proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which President Joe Biden pitched during a trip to Michigan.

The House Committee on the Budget published the legislative text for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 ahead of Monday’s planned markup of the bill.

It includes $1,400 direct payments to eligible Americans, an expanded Child Tax Credit, an extension of $400 federal unemployment benefits and a provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Without this relief package, conditions will spiral further out of control and families will suffer needlessly,” committee Chairman John Yarmuth said. “We are in a race against time, and aggressive, bold action is needed before our nation is permanently scarred by the human and economic costs of inaction. We have the plan and the fiscal space, we have the American people behind us, and now we have the bill to get it done.”

The release came as Biden traveled to Kalamazoo, Mich., on Friday afternoon to tour a Pfizer manufacturing plant, which is producing doses of the biotech company’s coronavirus vaccine.

He called on Republicans, who’ve balked at the $1.9 trillion price tag, to pass the legislation in a bipartisan effort.

“What would they have me cut?” Biden asked during remarks at the Pfizer plant.

“Should we not invest 20 billion dollars to vaccinate the nation? Should we not invest 50 billion dollars to help small businesses stay open when tens of thousands have had to close permanently?

“How many people do you know will go to bed tonight staring at the ceiling saying, ‘God, what is going to happen if I don’t get my job, if I don’t have my unemployment check?”

The House is expected to vote on the legislation next week and Democrats hope the Senate can reach a vote before the current federal unemployment benefits run out in mid-March.


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