Hoping to avoid a mid-March lapse in unemployment benefits, congressional lawmakers say they plan to have relief package legislation on the House floor by Friday next week—a bill that will include $1,400 checks and hundreds of billions of dollars for U.S. schools.
House Democrats on Tuesday said they are finalizing President Joe Biden‘s $1.9 trillion economic relief package and are prepared to vote on it over the weekend if passage of the bill requires extended debate. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told House Democrats during a Tuesday conference call that he hopes to have the latest relief package legislation on the House floor by Friday, February 26. The aim is for its final passage to occur on the week of March 8, allowing the Senate time for possible amendments. Hoyer shifted next week’s session to Tuesday through Friday in order to take action on the budget reconciliation process.
Millions of individual Americans would be set to receive $1,400 direct payments through the American Rescue Plan by mid-March should the COVID-19 pandemic relief package move through Congress within Hoyer’s timeframe. Additionally, unemployment benefits would be increased for millions of jobless Americans. Senate Democrats, who hold a 51-vote majority, have made it increasingly clear they intend to move forward with passage of the $1.9 trillion package with or without Republicans.
“During the week of March 8, the House will continue in legislative session. We will be ready to take further action on the American Rescue Plan in the event the Senate amends it and sends it back to us, and the House will address additional legislation relating to challenges long overdue for Congressional action,” Hoyer wrote to lawmakers Tuesday.
Biden is set to participate in a CNN town hall event Tuesday evening to discuss the pandemic’s effect on the U.S. economy and to promote his new relief plan, including $1,400 checks to individual Americans. Biden’s plan also includes hundreds of billions of dollars aimed toward schools, testing, vaccine production and school reopenings.
“Our challenges are immense, and the House must meet them with bold and resolute action,” Hoyer added in a Tuesday letter to Democrats, warning that votes on the stimulus plan could extend into the weekend.
Senate and House Republicans have criticized the $1,400 checks as too broad, urging Democrats to reduce eligibility to people earning less than $50,000 rather than $75,000 in annual income.
Newsweek reached out to Hoyer’s office as well as the White House for additional remarks Tuesday afternoon but did not hear back by the time of publishing.
Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/1400-stimulus-checks-could-arrive-mid-march-house-readies-vote-biden-package-1569749 on .