The House Ways and Means Committee is going forward with a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits, one of President Joe Biden’s key features for his proposed pandemic relief package, Bloomberg reported.
The measure passed with a 24-18 vote, and the legislation will also come with better benefits for self-employed and gig workers, the report stated. It will also add to the number of weeks long-term unemployed people can apply for benefits.
The $1.9 trillion Biden plan is being written into legislative text this week by lawmakers, and votes on other important components, such as checks to individuals and households and money for more COVID-19 vaccines and testing, are on the table as well, according to the report.
In addition, the House Committee on Education and Labor approved a portion of the bill for a raise to the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, although it’s unknown if this aspect will qualify for the legislative process Democrats are using, Bloomberg reported.
By Friday (Feb. 12), House panels are likely to have approved all parts of the Biden bill, with the chamber’s Democratic leaders looking to send the package to the Senate after a vote during the week of Feb. 22, Bloomberg reported.
The Senate previously approved the Biden stimulus package as of Friday (Feb. 5), PYMNTS reported. The House passed its own budget and was set to consider the Senate’s, too. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, the first time she was able to do so.
The House and Senate are required to greenlight the same package, with lawmakers expected to approve a version before expanded unemployment benefits end in mid-March.
The contentious issue of the minimum wage has been spearheaded by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has said he’ll do everything he can to ensure that the long-coveted issue makes it into the bill.