The bill received almost the minimum number of votes for its approval.
The House of Representatives of the US Congress approved on Saturday a bill on measures to urgently stimulate the growth of the national economy in the context of the pandemic for $1.9 trillion. The American broadcaster conducted the broadcast of the meeting.
The bill received almost the minimum number of votes for its approval – 219 against 212.
Based on the program of US President Joe Biden, the document was adopted on Monday by the budget committee of the lower house, and on Friday evening, it was approved by the procedural committee. The plan calls for approximately $400 billion to be allocated directly to the fight against the pandemic. About $1 trillion should be used to help the population, the rest – to stimulate the economy.
The proposal of the head of the US administration to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour was not included in the program. On Thursday, Elizabeth McDonough, the independent expert on procedural issues of the US Senate, ruled that the relevant proposal could not be included in the bill at the moment. Biden expressed disappointment with the ruling but, as the White House press service noted, “treated it with respect.” Democratic lawmakers are trying to pass the document in the upper house under a simplified procedure (by a simple majority), provided for budget initiatives to circumvent opposition from Republicans.
The number of seats in the Senate is now divided equally between representatives of both parties – 50-50. US Vice President Kamala Harris (from the Democrats), who is also the chairman of the upper house under the law, can vote if the senators ‘ positions on a particular issue are divided in half. Simultaneously, additional measures, such as an increase in hourly wages, require at least 60 votes. As the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (Democrat), who holds the third most important port in the US state hierarchy, said on Friday, her party members will not give up on the idea of increasing the minimum wage.
Prospects in the Senate
Democrats expect to send the bill to the president for signature before March 14, when the increased unemployment benefits expire. However, the document is expected to face significant procedural difficulties in the Senate.
Republicans have repeatedly stressed that they consider the package in its current form excessive. According to the White House, the $1.9 trillion program is most consistent with the pandemic-induced crisis scale.