Approval of pandemic crisis package still in process in Senate.
The Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Bernie Sanders (Vermont), continues with the integration of the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package.
Although there is no exact date on its floor vote, the plan, just endorsed by the House, could make significant progress this week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) confirmed.
“In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the worst public health crisis in 100 years, Republicans say Democrats want to spend too much to deal with the pandemic and insist it’s time to do less,” Schumer charged.
Although the House approved the bill, the Senate will make adjustments and that adds a step to the complicated Reconciliation process, since the representatives would have to vote again on the bill endorsed by the senators.
Schumer is trying to integrate as many of his party colleagues’ proposals as possible, to avoid any obstruction in the final vote, although that task is complicated with Republicans.
Here are some essential periods considering the legislative calendar:
- March 1-5: The Senate finalizes the economic package and could vote on it in committees.
- March 8-12: Senators may vote on the bill on the floor and, if approved, send it back to the House of Representatives and then send it to President Biden.
- March 14: Funds for the unemployment insurance bonus are finalized.
- March 15-19: IRS needs one week to process direct deposit to Americans.
- March 22-26 Direct payments to bank accounts will be issued.
- March 29 to April 2: Mailing of checks would begin.
- April 5 – April 9 – Prepaid cards will begin to be mailed.
The Democrat criticized Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), because of their intentions to obstruct aid to families and businesses in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic.
“He believes ‘we’ve done enough’ to combat this historic crisis,” Schumer criticized. “They were wrong then and they are wrong now, which is why 76% of Americans, business leaders, educators, local leaders and economists across the political spectrum support the American Bailout Plan. That’s why Senate Democrats will pass it.”
Important to note: in the event of a possible delay in the process, the dates mentioned above could change significantly. The main concern at this time is the unemployment insurance bonus, and it is possible that there will be a period – less short – similar to what happened between the first and second aid package, when the extra $300 support to the unemployed stopped being paid.
“Unless Congress acts quickly, 11.4 million workers will lose their unemployment benefits between March 14 and April 11 of this year,” warns a report by The Century Foundation. “(This will bring) disastrous results for American families and the U.S. economy.”
The report adds that four million workers will face the benefit cut first, starting March 14, while an additional 7.2 million will achieve benefits through April 11, but that window would disappear if Congress delays even further with the new relief package.