House Democrats are taking a major step forward to push through President Joe Biden's massive $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill by the end of next week.
The House Budget committee announced Thursday it will take the step of cobbling together pieces of the plan on Monday and vote to advance it out of the committee, paving the way for House floor action by week's end.
Democrats are trying to swiftly pass the relief package on the strength of their majority in Congress to deliver on promises made by the President, but the process of passing such a significant piece of legislation is complicated and must clear a number of hurdles in both chambers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference that the budget committee will "consolidate" the various elements of the rescue plan following work by committees with jurisdiction over specific policy provisions. The speaker said that after that, she is hoping for a vote "sometime at the end of next week."
The sweeping rescue package is slated to include a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks, an expansion of the child tax credit and an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, among a number of other elements. Democrats are planning to pass the legislation through a process called reconciliation, which will allow approval in the Senate with just 51 votes. It is not yet clear whether the minimum wage increase will be able to make it through the Senate due to restrictions on what can be passed under reconciliation.
"We wrote up the bill within that framework within different committees of jurisdiction, honoring their amounts and then that now has gone to the Budget committee, which will consolidate all of that, make sure that it is, again, in keeping with what reconciliation allows and that will then go to the Rules committee for us to vote on sometime at the end of next week is my hope," Pelosi said.
The Budget committee said in a release sent out Thursday that it will hold a virtual markup of the package known as the "American Rescue Plan" on Monday.
Once the House passes the legislation, it will next go to the Senate where Democrats hold the narrowest possible majority. The Senate has a partisan split of 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris has the ability to step in and act as the tie breaking vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has told his colleagues that Congress may take final action on the relief package on the week of March 8. That timeline would mean that the House will vote on the bill at the end of next week, followed by Senate action. If the Senate amends the bill, it will send it back to the House for final passage the week of March 8.
Pelosi has previously said that she expects the Covid relief package to be on Biden's desk by March 14, when jobless benefits expire.