COVID-19 relief bill expected to pass Wednesday | News from the United States and Canada

Democrats in the United States House have scheduled the final vote on the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to give the final pass to President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion massive coronavirus bailout for the United States, Democratic leaders said.

“This is remarkable and historic transformative legislation that goes a long way in crushing the virus and resolving our economic crisis,” House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference at the State Capitol on Tuesday. -United.

The Democratic-controlled House on Tuesday set procedures for the final passage of the US Senate Modified version of the $ 1.9 trillion expense bill.

President Joe Biden, who will sign the bill shortly after it is passed in the House, plans to address the nation on Thursday evening about the legislation and its agenda to lift the United States out of the crisis. pandemic.

The bill provides direct payments of $ 1,400 to individuals, extends several US tax credits for working parents and extends a weekly allowance of $ 300 for the unemployed for an additional five months.

This would increase the incomes of the poorest U.S. citizens by 20% and reduce taxes for middle-class families with children by an average of $ 6,000, according to new analysis from the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

While the tax breaks are temporary, Democrats are already waiting for legislation to make the changes permanent that they say would halve child poverty in the United States.

“I’ve already had some thoughts on how we’re going to expand it and make it permanent,” said Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Ways and Means Tax Drafting Committee.

Politically, Democrats believe the legislation, by helping to end the pandemic, turn the economy around and help those who need it most, will help them win in the 2022 election.

One of the provisions of the bill provides $ 5 billion in debt relief and subsidies for black farmers who have been disadvantaged by systemic racism and have lost control of their land in the century since reconstruction. .

“This is perhaps the greatest help black farmers have received since the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Representative Jim Clyburn, a Democrat.

Majority House Whip James Clyburn praised funding for the COVID-19 relief bill for disadvantaged black farmers. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts

The amended Senate bill that the House will vote on does not include an increase in the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour that the House had already approved.

But the bill includes more than billions in new funding for social protection programs, satisfying progressives disappointed with not including a minimum wage hike.

Republicans lamented that sweeping legislation, which was passed by Congress on fast track with only Democratic backing, goes beyond targeting Relief from COVID-19.

“We could have had a bill that was only a fraction of the cost of it and that could have gotten bipartisan approval and support,” said Representative Liz Cheney, the third House Republican.

“It is not focused on COVID relief. It focuses on promoting the far left socialist agenda, ”said Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican Minority Whip.

At the same time, some Republicans have acknowledged that partisan pressure is preventing them from joining Democrats in supporting the bill, a move that could attract a challenger from the right.

“Are you trying to make me a main opponent?” What’s the matter here, ”joked Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican in debate with Democrats to solicit his support in the House.

Hoyer predicted that Republicans would vote against the bill but take credit for the results.

“They will be present at the ribbon cutting and they will be there to say that the schools are open and that it is not great,” said Hoyer, who told reporters that the House would begin debate on the final vote on Bill at 9:00 AM Wednesday EST (2:00 PM GMT).

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