House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill
The House Rules Committee on Wednesday released new text of the COVID-19 relief bill, adding spending measures that far exceed the $1.9 trillion price tag planned for the bill.
The full House is expected to vote on the COVID-19 relief package on Friday, but the bill will need to be changed to hit the $1.9 trillion limit to move through the Senate under special budgetary rules that are being used to avoid a Senate filibuster.
The Rules measure includes spending on foreign aid, tribal assistance and the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology that will raise the price well above $1.9 trillion. Those portions of the bill were excluded from the text approved by the House Budget Committee on Monday because House Democrats did not mark up the relevant portions in committee the previous week, citing scheduling difficulties.
Raquel Spencer, general counsel for the Budget Committee, said the reconciliation instructions given to these three committees totaled about $11.75 billion in spending.
The biggest point of contention in the measure is language that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.
It’s not clear if that can be included in the package under the requirements for using the special budgetary rules avoiding a Senate filibuster.
It’s also not clear whether all 50 Democrats in the Senate would support such a measure.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) supports a smaller minimum wage hike, and other reservations have been raised about tipped workers.
Republicans oppose the legislation in general, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) predicted no GOP senators would back it.