WASHINGTON – After an attack at the U.S. Capitol and a historic impeachment trial, Congress is back to legislating.
Lawmakers’ primary focus this week will be President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which Democrats are eager to pass even without Republican help. The bill likely will face some hurdles, and Democrats will put their slim majorities in both chambers to the test for the first time.
But Congress is up against a clear deadline. In a few weeks, aid for millions of people still struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic will run dry.
So where does the latest COVID-19 relief bill go from here? And when can you expect help?
When could the COVID-19 bill pass?
The stimulus package is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but it faces several key hurdles. Over the next week, it must clear several key panels in the House before it can pass the full House with a simple majority vote.
The bill is up for consideration in the House Budget Committee on Monday afternoon, and the House Rules Committee takes it up later in the week. Neither panel is expected to substantially alter the bill.
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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has told lawmakers to expect the House to vote on it later in the week.
If the bill passes the House, it would then go to the Senate, where it would face a more complicated process. The chamber could amend the bill, which would send it back to the House for another vote.
Democrats aim to pass the whole package by mid-March, when a federal boost to unemployment benefits expires.
The House Budget Committee released a 591-page draft of the legislation Friday. The bill contains provisions affecting a wide variety of government functions. Here is some of what the legislation includes:
• None $1,400 checks for Americans earning $75,000 or less, or $2,800 for couples earning $150,000 or less, plus $1,400 per dependent.
• None Renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program for small-business loans.
• None An extension of a $400-a-week boost to federal unemployment benefits through the end of August.
• None An expansion of the child tax credit, including an increase to $3,600 per child and a shift to it being delivered as a monthly payment.
• None Expansion of subsidies under the Affordable Care Act for health insurance.
• None Expansion of health insurance for the unemployed through COBRA health insurance law subsidies .
• None An increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
What is budget reconciliation , the process being used to pass this ? Read from source….