As quickly as USD 1,400 stimulus checks are carried out, a minimal wage of USD 15 per hour could be achieved
President Biden makes remarks before signing a “Made in America” executive order in the White House on January 25, 2021.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
A new $ 1.9 trillion plan from President Joe Biden includes a number of initiatives aimed at propping Americans’ finances as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on.
That includes $ 1,400 stimulus checks to bring the $ 600 Payments Congress approved in December to a total of $ 2,000.
The package also includes raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.
Now Biden is faced with the task of getting the package through Congress. Despite a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, analysts expect this will not be an easy task. At a press conference on Monday, Biden also admitted that conditions could change.
“I’m not assuming we’ll know if we have an agreement or to what extent the whole package can or cannot be passed until we reach the end of this process, which will likely take place in a few weeks,” said Biden . “The point is, this is just the process that begins.”
For Americans, this could mean a longer wait before they see more money.
How the $ 1,400 payments might change
“I picked it because I thought it was rational and sensible, and it had overwhelming support from both parties in the House when it was passed,” Biden said.
Experts believe that the delivery of the package could be delayed and ultimately downsized.
“One of the big debates right now is the balance between acting fast and acting big,” said Ed Mills, policy analyst for Raymond James in Washington.
If lawmakers move fast, the $ 1,400 checks and vaccine money will most likely make the cut. “Those are the two most bipartisan parts of that bill,” Mills said.
A larger package would likely require a process known as budget reconciliation, he said.
The most likely change in stimulus payments would be better efforts to bring money to those who are hardest hit by a K-shaped recovery, Mills said, where some parts of the economy are slower than others.
Such a change could mean fewer people qualify for the full $ 1,400 payments.
“I think Congress wants a way to get help for those on the lower part of the K,” Mills said.
How quickly those payments reach people depends on how quickly legislators agree.
Democrats have said they want to get something done in the coming weeks. However, the next most likely pressure point for Congress to reach a compromise will be in mid-March, when support for the unemployed runs out, Mills said.
The minimum wage of $ 15 is facing hurdles
Protesters urge McDonald’s Corporation to raise wages to a minimum of $ 15 and allow union formation on May 23, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
The national minimum wage has not increased from its current $ 7.25 an hour since 2009.
However, the legislature may not be ready to enforce a mandatory higher hourly rate with the new economic agreement.
Mills said it was “highly unlikely” that such a change would take place.
“Voters are likely more likely to support a minimum wage increase than some members of Congress,” Mills said.
When asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday whether the government was ready to raise the minimum wage, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain reiterated the government’s commitment to getting him off now.
“We certainly think that the minimum wage should be part of this urgency package,” said Klain.
On Tuesday, the Democrats in both the House and Senate reintroduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. The proposal envisages a gradual increase in the wage rate until 2025.
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