Now that the House of Representatives have passed President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus bill, anxious Americans are waiting to see when it will get the go ahead from the Senate.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, said debating the bill will begin next week. “I expect a hearty debate and some late nights,” he told the press on Monday, “but the American people sent us here with a job to do.”
While it appears that much of the bill will remain the same as the first stimulus bill that sent eligible adults and dependents $1,400 checks, there are sure to be revisions of the current bill, particularly the issue of whether the $15-an-hour minimum wage provision makes the cut. There is also the question of the filibuster which isn’t a procedural obstacle in the House but could arise in the Senate and require 60 votes to overcome it. If it comes to the matter of a simple majority, Vice President Harris has the deciding vote.
In effect, the Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote if the bill is to succeed. The conservative Democrats have raised a concern about whether the money actually goes to people who really need it. This issue could entail stricter rules for those selected to receive the money.
As in the previous bill and allocation, individuals with incomes up to $75,000 and married joint filers with income up to $150,000 will received the full amount. Singles with incomes above $100,000 are not eligible to get any money, nor are married joint filers with incomes above $200,000.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said that the president would not be reducing the $1,400 per person, but he might be willing to concede to whom actually gets the money. “He has not been willing to negotiate on the size of the checks,” Psaki told CNN, “but there has been a targeting to ensure that it hits the Americans who need that help the most. That’s an idea that has come up in the meetings with Democrats and Republicans. And he’s certainly open to hearing their ideas.”
The debate is sure to be contentious and in the end there are sure to be concessions, though the progressive Democrats will do everything in their powers to push the bill through, thereby fulfilling campaign promises.