In a mostly party-line vote on Monday, the House Budget Committee approved President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, setting up a vote in the House later this week.
The vote was approved by a 19-16 margin by the committee. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, voted in opposition.
The vote comes after Republicans on the committee attempted to “table” the bill in an attempt to keep it from being sent to the full House for consideration.
While the full House is expected to vote in favor of the bill later this week, its passage as is faces an uncertain future in the Senate, which could cause the bill to need to be amended. The bill includes an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four years, which several moderate Democrats in the Senate have been apprehensive about supporting.
There are also questions on even if the Senate can approve an increase to the minimum wage through the stimulus bill.
Earlier this month, Biden suggested in an interview with CBS News that the final bill likely would not include a minimum wage increase. Biden cited Senate rules that limit the type of bills that can be passed using the budget reconciliation process. Using budget reconciliation allows the stimulus package to be passed by a simple majority in the Senate instead of 60 out of 100.
“Well, apparently, that's not going to occur because of the rules of the United States Senate,” Biden told O’Donnell. “I don't think it's going to survive."
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate’s Budget Committee, has tasked the chamber’s parliamentarian to examine whether a minimum wage increase can be approved through budget reconciliation.
Rep. Glenn Grothman, a Republican from Wisconsin, argued that the stimulus bill would not benefit the middle class.
“I can only think that the bill was slapped together with people just thinking the more we give the better without realizing we are giving unnecessary money and destroying the value of the dollar,” Grothman said. “We already see how this is going to hurt the middle class, and the lower middle class as the value of housing goes through the roof, as the value of oil goes up, as the value of food goes up. When we debase the currency, the hyperwealthy will always be able to handle it. They will be able to work around it. But the young couple who wants to buy a house, the average couple buying their own food, is going to pay a horrible price for this bill.”
But Democrats, including Biden, say that this bill will benefit the middle class.
"We can't spend too much. Now's the time we should be spending, now is the time to go big,” Biden said in a CNN town hall last week.
The stimulus bill includes $1,400 checks for most Americans making less than $75,000 a year. It also includes $1,400 for eligible dependents. The proposal increases the child tax credit to $3,000 per year ($3,600 for children under age 6). And it extends enhanced unemployment benefits through September.