What Hoyer said about the third stimulus check and when the House will vote on the covid-19 relief bill?
The House prepares to give final approval to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan this week before it can go to President Biden’s desk for signing.
On Saturday the Senate passed an amended version of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill. The bill came out of the upper chamber mostly intact with some modifications on the version the House passed. Now the lower chamber must consider the changes made to the legislation and give their final approval, expected to happen on Wednesday.
After the bill gets through the final hurdle in the House it will be sent to the White House where President Biden could sign it as soon as it arrives. This would mean that the Democrats would beat the clock to avoid federal pandemic unemployment benefits going over a cliff, jobless aid is set to expire 14 March if no action is taken.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on the American Rescue Plan
After the Senate passed its version of the American Rescue Plan with a party line 50-49 vote on Saturday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressed optimism about the news in a statement:
"The Senate has now passed President Biden's American Rescue Plan to provide long-awaited relief to Americans suffering from the economic impacts of covid-19 and to boost our capacity to save lives by ramping up the deployment of testing and vaccines. The help that so many of our people have been waiting for during months of Republican inaction is one step closer,"
Representative Hoyer went on to say that the House would consider the amended bill as soon as Tuesday. However due to the magnitude of the bill the lower chamber delayed bringing the bill to the House floor in order to comb through the new language. The House is now set to consider the legislation on Wednesday with Hoyer saying “Our expectation is, maybe late this afternoon we would adopt the rule...We will then tomorrow at 9am consider the American Rescue Plan and pass that.”
House Democrats set to pass the bill on party lines
The bill is likely to pass the House despite Republican opposition. No GOP lawmakers are likely to vote for the sweeping covid-19 relief package with party leaders attacking the bill as wasteful “unrelated liberal spending”.
However, there was concern about resistance from the left as well with more progressive lawmakers frustrated with alterations made to the legislation in the Senate. The Democrats only have five votes to spare in the lower chamber. Those fears seem to be alleviated with the Chair of the House Progressive Caucus Rep. Pramila Jayapal telling reporters Monday that she plans to support the Senate's version of the covid-19 relief bill.
"I don't think that the changes the Senate made were good policy or good politics," Jayapal said. "However, they were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, with the exception of course in the $15 minimum wage." She also expressed that she doesn’t expect any defections among the progressive caucus.
Biden could sign the American Rescue Plan into law before the end of the week
Once the sprawling covid-19 relief package gets final approval from the House it will be sent to the White House for President Biden’s signature. Democrats have a deadline to meet with federal unemployment benefits set to expire 14 March when an estimated 11.4 million jobless will begin to lose their unemployment aid. When asked on Monday when he would sign the bill Biden told reporters "As soon as I get it."
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