UPDATED 7:30 AM PT – Saturday, February 20, 2021
In the next few weeks, eligible Americans can expect a $1,400 check, but the next few months or years in the wake of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill could be unpredictable.
On Friday, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth unveiled the nearly 600-page package, saying “we are in a race against time and aggressive, bold action is needed.” The bill includes a litany of Democrat-backed proposals, many of which were staunchly opposed to by the Republicans.
While Republicans have voiced their concerns about the size and focus of the bill, they have been largely shut out of the legislative process due to the use of budget reconciliation by Democrats.
— House Budget Committee (@HouseBudgetDems) February 20, 2021
The package outlines a five-year plan to do what earlier reports indicated Joe Biden didn’t think could happen, a minimum wage hike. The increase will begin with a jump to $9.50 effective immediately, and end at $15.
This came despite Republican concerns of how a blanket raise would disproportionately affect the whole country.
“How can we have a nationwide minimum wage of $15, which frankly would kill a lot of jobs in Kansas,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said. “So how, I mean I’m all for if you want $15 an hour in Boston, knock your socks off, but in Kansas that would be a pretty good wage job killing wage.”
Without the need to convince any Republicans to come on board, the Democrats had the opportunity to fund dozens of proposals that they have defended for decades. One of which is a billion dollar boost to Head Start, a child care program that was introduced in 1965. However, in 2005, 2010 and 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services showed it provided negligible improvements to a child’s cognitive ability.
In addition, one of then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society projects, the National Endowment for the Arts, which not only divided politics but the art world as well, is set to receive $135 million.
Economists such as former White House economic adviser to President Trump, Larry Kudlow, and former director of the National Economic Council under Barack Obama, Larry Summers, have said a multi-trillion dollar cash injection into the economy would have ramifications for decades, which would be a price too high to pay for a short-term political victory.
There is nothing wrong w targeting $1.9 T. I could support a larger figure in total stimulus. But a substantial part of program should be directed at promoting sustainable & inclusive economic growth for the decade and beyond, not simply supporting incomes this year & next.
— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) February 7, 2021
Democrats hope to pass the bill by the end of the week.