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US News Biden stimulus plan: House votes Friday, Senate uncertainty

21:48  26 february  2021
21:48  26 february  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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Le Capitole, siège du Congrès américain à Washington, le 19 janvier 2021 © ROBERTO SCHMIDT Capitol, seat of the US Congress in Washington, January 19, 2021

US House of Representatives votes Friday night on the 1900 stimulus package billion dollars wanted by Joe Biden, but after a procedural setback in the Senate, the minimum wage hike Democrats demanded will certainly not be in the final version.

Le président américain Joe Biden évoque les 50 millions de doses de vaccin administrées lors d'une conférence de presse à l'Eisenhower Executive Office Building de Washington, le 25 février 2021. © SAUL LOEB US President Joe Biden discusses the 50 million doses of vaccine administered during a press conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, February 25, 2021.

He is an unknown figure in Congress which overturned Thursday evening the progress of this titanic plan, which the new American president initially wanted to see adopted at the beginning of February.

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The guardian of the complex procedures of the Senate, Elizabeth MacDonough, ruled that the text could not include the increase in the hourly minimum wage to 15 dollars, enshrined in the bill.

If some progressives were indignant, calling for overstepping the judgment of this "parliamentarian", an unelected official, Joe Biden let it be known on Thursday evening that he "respected" him.

While urging Congress to "move quickly to adopt the US bailout". And by announcing that he would attempt to separately advance the increase in the federal minimum wage, currently at $ 7.25.

The message to Democrats, who control the majority in Congress, is clear: time is running out to revive a US economy hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Act "quickly to pass this law to give Americans the urgent support and help they need," the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wrote to parliamentarians on Friday morning.

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Doris Norman reçoit une dose d'un vaccin contre le Covid-19 à Central Falls, dans l'Etat de Rhode Island © Joseph Prezioso Doris Norman receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Central Falls, Rhode Island

In the evening, the House will vote on the original bill, which includes the increase in the minimum wage up to 15 dollars per hour, by 2025.

A measure "necessary", justified Thursday evening the Democratic President of the House Nancy Pelosi. "This provision will therefore remain in the + American rescue plan + which will be put to a vote", the time of which has not yet been announced, she insisted.

In practice, this decision involves a longer parliamentary shuttle.

Given their majority in the lower house, the $ 1.9 trillion plan is likely to be easily adopted there. It will then be sent, next week, to the Senate, where the salary increase should be withdrawn.

If it is in turn adopted, this text will go back to the House for a vote on a final harmonized version.

- Checks for 1,400 dollars -

United States: first vote for the $ 1.9 trillion reconstruction plan

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The withdrawal of the increase in the minimum wage could, in fact, facilitate the adoption of the support plan. Because some moderate Democrats were opposed to this measure.

But with its tiny majority in the Senate, and the announced opposition of the Republicans to the Biden plan, the party imperatively needs unity to have this project adopted.

Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressive Democrats, however, were studying an alternative on Friday to encourage the increase in minimum incomes: to introduce in the vast support plan an amendment creating tax penalties for large companies that pay less than a "subsistence minimum ".

But moderate Democrats could also oppose it.

Faced with uncertainty, the big American bosses are calling for quick action.

In detail, the Biden plan aims to support the economy and the fight against Covid-19.

It provides several tens of billions of dollars for the acceleration of the pace of vaccinations and the deployment of tests but also 130 billion dollars to help schools and high schools to reopen despite the pandemic.

New aid checks in the amount of $ 1,400 should be sent to Americans, depending on their income level, and the length of unemployment benefits extended until September 30, 2021.

Democrats have promised to adopt these measures before March 14, when the payment of prolonged unemployment benefits in a previous aid plan will cease.

elc / iba

USA: Biden pushes for his stimulus plan despite good employment figures .
© Supplied by Le Point J oe Biden hammered on Friday the need to adopt his stimulus plan without delay, tempering the enthusiasm created by good employment figures in the United States, a sign that heralds a mini economic boom in the spring. The text is currently being discussed in the Senate, mired in long discussions. Democrats hope that this envelope of nearly 1.9 trillion dollars will be adopted there this weekend, before a final vote in the House of Representatives.

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