The US House of Representatives has agreed to the $ 1,900 billion in additional emergency corona aid. The approval in the lower house marked Democratic President Joe Biden’s first legislative victory. Now it is up to the Senate to agree.
Biden and his colleagues are trying to get emergency aid through Congress without the help of the Republicans. With the American bailout plan, vaccines and medical supplies would have to be paid for. The money will also be used for a new round of emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and national and local governments.
According to the Democrats, the package is needed to combat a pandemic that has already killed more than 500,000 Americans and put millions of people out of work. “The American people need to know that their government is there for them,” Democratic parliament speaker Nancy Pelosi said during the lower house debate.
Republicans, who have broadly supported the previous spending in the context of the corona crisis, said much of the current package was unnecessary. Only 9 percent of all billions would go directly to fighting the virus. According to Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, money is being thrown away without being accounted for.
Key elements of the bill include $ 1,400 direct benefits to individuals, federal unemployment benefits of $ 400 a week through the end of August, and assistance for people struggling to pay rent and mortgage during the pandemic.
The proposal now verves to the Senate, where Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris may have to cast a casting vote. In the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats have 50 seats. Democrats want Biden to sign the bill before mid-March when the increased unemployment benefits and other support measures expire.
However, adjustments may still need to be made to the proposed increase in the minimum wage from $ 7.25 to $ 15 an hour, allegedly penalizing companies that do not raise wages. This proposal may need to be dropped due to the complex rules that apply to the Senate. Also, not all Democratic senators would like the increase.