February 15, 2021

Language Indicates Democrats Moving Forward on Minimum Wage, Extended Unemployment Benefits

Summarized from Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

House Democrats have released the first draft language for key pieces of legislation that will form President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief bill.

The language released by the House Education and Labor Committee and Financial Services Committee shows Democrats are forging ahead with plans to increase the Federal minimum wage to $15 an hour despite an ongoing debate over whether Senate rules permit them to do so through the so-called budget reconciliation procedure.

The House Ways and Means Committee is planning for a multi-day process to approve the tax portions of the relief bill, which began Thursday, Feb. 11. That text includes another round of relief checks, paid-leave benefits and widened tax credits for families with children and low-income individuals. It also addresses the extended unemployment benefits that President Biden called for in his overall $1.9 trillion proposal.

Nine other congressional committees will meet in the coming days to assemble their portions of the relief bill for a House floor vote the week of Feb. 22. Once the bill heads to the Senate, it is designed to be passed with just 50 members plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris using the budget reconciliation procedure.