Democrats' $1.9 trillion stimulus clears key House panel, now on course for floor vote within days




  • In Politics
  • 2021-02-22 21:17:04Z
  • By Business Insider
Nancy Pelosi stimulus
Nancy Pelosi stimulus  
  • The House Budget Committee voted to advance Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus along party lines on Monday.

  • The Democratic plan is on course to get a floor vote either Friday or Saturday.

  • President Joe Biden said on Monday that he's open to reducing the size of the package.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The House Budget Committee approved the $1.9 trillion rescue plan on Monday afternoon, putting the Democratic proposal on course to receive a final floor vote toward the end of the week.

The 19-16 vote was mostly split along party lines. Every Republican on the panel opposed advancing the measure.

"We are in a race against time," Rep. John Yarmuth, chair of the budget panel, said in his opening statement. "Aggressive, bold action is needed before our nation is more deeply and permanently scarred by the human and economic costs of inaction."

Republicans are uniformly opposed to the Biden plan, arguing it is too costly.

The measure now heads to the House Rules Committee, which can also amend the package. Speaker Pelosi said last week that Democrats were gearing up for to approve the measure by the end of the month.

Democrats push for passage via reconciliation

Democrats continue pressing ahead with their plans to enact the plan without Republican support. Democrats are using a process called reconciliation that allows them to pass a budgetary bill with only 51 votes in the Senate instead of 60.

The 591-page bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $400 federal unemployment benefits, and significant funding for vaccines and testing. It also includes aid for states and a gradual $15 minimum wage increase.

President Joe Biden on Friday strongly defended the plan against GOP critics. "What would they have me cut?" he asked while touring a Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

"Should we not invest $20 billion to vaccinate the nation?" Biden asked. "Should we not invest $50 billion to help small businesses stay open when tens of thousands have had to close permanently?"

"I could go on, but you get the point," he said.

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Susan Collins offered a $618 billion economic aid plan earlier this month. Democrats roundly rejected the proposal after it failed to gain traction. Biden said on Monday that he was still open to reduce the size of the package.

"I'm prepared to hear ideas about how to make the American Rescue Plan better and cheaper," Biden said. "But we have to make clear who we're helping and who it would hurt."

The legislation still faces several hurdles in the Senate. The Senate parliamentarian may toss out the provision for a minimum wage increase, complicating the swift timeline that Democrats are pursuing.

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