Despite all of the advancements that have currently been made on producing the COVID vaccines and countless people wanting to get life back to normal, there is still widespread panic, fear, and skepticism throughout the entire nation. Millions of people have continued to toil, trapped within their homes and suffering whether it be economically, emotionally, or any other form. In light of this Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden want to pass the fifth COVID relief bill since the start of the pandemic. This bill stands at a whopping total of $1.9 trillion dollars, and according to House Democrats would provide Americans with around $1,400 each as relief for their dire struggle against the virus. The bill would also provide schools with the funding necessary to reopen, an increase to child tax credit, increase availability of COVID testing, and provide direct funding to local and state governments. The leftover money could also then go to further research and production of any COVID-19 vaccines so life and the economy could return to normal as soon as possible.
So far the act has already passed the House of Representatives with a vote tally of 219-212 which had two Democrats vote against it, who were Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon. Similarly all Republicans in the House voted against the bill citing that it was a “slush fund in order to buy votes that Biden can use over the next four years.” The bill also includes $9 billion dollars going to cybersecurity and $20 billion dollars going towards public transit.
Democratic representatives also pushed to be included in the bill a raise in the federal minimum wage up to $15 dollars per hour. Republicans and even some select few Democrats pushed back against the minimum wage increase citing that it could cause around 1.4 million people to lose their jobs and that it would cause massive unemployment across the entire nation. In light of this the Senate stated that the act will be removed from the bill and that it may be debated at a future date. Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have however stated that they truly do want the increase in the minimum wage to be included in the bill, as it may provide a boost in the federal budget in the form of increased payroll tax revenue. Whether or not the bill is passed in the Senate remains to be seen, but what seems certain is that COVID is far from over, and there may certainly be even more relief packages in the future.