stimulus, senate, wage
President Biden speaks during a meeting with Vice President Harris, Speaker of the House Pelosi, and the Chairs of the House committees to discuss a coronavirus relief package in the Oval Office. Earlier in the day the Senate approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Senate Supports $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package, But Blocks Minimum Wage Increase

Early Friday morning, the Senate voted to back President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package through a budget resolution — a tactic that allowed the proposal to be passed via a simple 51–50 majority rather than the 60 typically used to pass other measures. Democrats were all in favor of passing it, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, while no GOP members supported it.

Throughout the session that lasted all night, Democrats moved through a series of amendments Republicans attempted to attach to the budget plan. Democrats also endorsed a proposal to exclude high-earners from the $1,400 payments and create a new form of child allowance for low- and middle- income families, The New York Times reports. The definition of “high earner” has not been made clear.

Senators also agreed not to proceed with an increase in federal minimum wage. It has sat at $7.25 an hour since 2009, and Democrats and advocates have been seeking to raise it to $15 by 2025.

Next, the resolution will go to the House, which is largely Democrat and therefore won’t require Republican votes to approve it. This vote is expected late Friday.

As it stands, the measure doesn’t have the force of law. Instead, this budget resolution paves the way for the next step: budget reconciliation. Budget resolution, the first step in the process that the Senate just completed, allows Congress to change taxes or spending with a simple majority vote — which the Senate has with Harris as the tie-breaker. Budget reconciliation will ultimately advance the plan without Republican votes.

Budget reconciliation was most recently used in 2017 by Republicans, who passed tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-rich.

The measure to not increase minimum wage was passed by voice vote, and Democrats did not defeat it. Even Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said he would not contest prohibiting the minimum wage increase during the pandemic because he never specifically sought to raise it during the pandemic.

Amendments proposed by Republicans that did not pass included measures to reduce funding to states like New York that are under investigation for COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes; limiting funding for schools that don’t hold in-person classes once teachers are vaccinated; and blocking funds from areas that don’t cooperate with federal law enforcement on immigration.

Two Republican amendments the Senate did pass involved a block on tax increases for small businesses during the pandemic and access to grants for restaurants and bars whose businesses were affected during the crisis. The Senate also agreed to prohibit stimulus checks going to undocumented immigrants — which was not part of Biden’s plan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would still work on raising the minimum wage — just not in this particular COVID relief package.

“It’s not the last bill we’ll pass,” Ms. Pelosi said. “This is the rescue package.”

Latest News

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…