Stimulus update: House committee passes bill with $1,400 checks, unemployment

The U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee on Monday passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, setting the stage for a vote by the full House on the measure at the end of the week.

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The legislation would provide millions of Americans with $1,400 direct payments in addition to increasing federal unemployment benefits; sending money to state and local governments; providing funds to help schools reopen; and other aid programs.

“We must act swiftly to put an end to this pandemic and to stem the suffering felt by so many millions,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

The Budget Committee vote was 19-16, with Texas Democrat Rep. Lloyd Doggett siding with Republicans in opposition to the bill. Later, a spokeswoman for Doggett said he had cast his no vote in error and he supported the legislation.

Republicans say the cost of the bill is too high, and that the economy does not need that much support.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, supports lowering the income cap for those who would receive $1,400 direct stimulus payments.

“I was the first to raise that issue, but there seemed to be a lot of agreement … that those payments need to be more targeted,” Collins said. “I would say that it was not clear to me how the administration came up with its $1.9 trillion figure for the package.”

Here are some of the highlights of the bill voted out of the committee:

  • $422.3 billion in $1,400 direct payments to households
  • $350 billion in aid to state and local governments
  • $245.8 billion for federal unemployment benefits
  • $128.6 billion for K-12 schools to help reopen schools
  • $109.2 billion for an expansion of the $2,000 child tax credit to $3,600 for children under age 6; $3,000 for children under 17
  • $81.5 billion for multi-employer pension plan aid
  • $48.5 billion for COVID-19 testing
  • $47 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Administration
  • $46 billion for contact tracing, testing and mitigation
  • $45.4 billion for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour
  • $27.9 billion for aid for metro transit systems
  • $25 billion for grants for bars and restaurants
  • $25 billion for emergency rental assistance
  • $19.1 billion for state and local governments
  • $15 billion for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program; the program provides low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration
  • $14 billion for distribution, research and administration of vaccines
  • $7.25 billion in new money for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $1.4 billion in funding for programs authorized under the Older Americans Act

The bill will be sent to the House Rules Committee before heading to the House floor late in the week. The Rules Committee could make changes to the bill.

If the bill passes the House, it will be sent to the Senate, where it could be amended and sent back to the House for another vote; although that may be difficult under the reconciliation process the bill was introduced.

Reconciliation allows for a simple majority vote to pass a spending bill.

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