February 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 59

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February 26, 2021

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February 25, 2021

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House Moves Forward on President Biden’s COVID-19 Stimulus Plan

Earlier this month, the House and Senate approved a fiscal 2021 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 5), directing committees to use the budget reconciliation process to draft COVID-19 relief legislation consistent with President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The budget reconciliation process allows the Senate to advance spending and tax related legislation with a simple majority vote instead of the 60-vote threshold needed for most legislation.

During the week of February 8, a number of House committees advanced portions of the President’s plan along party lines. The bills include proposals to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, provide $1,400 stimulus checks, increase Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits, provide subsidies for COBRA coverage, increase funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), extend and modify tax credits for paid sick and family leave and employee retention, and increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

The relief package is expected to include nearly $1.9 trillion in emergency funding, including:

  • $350 billion for state, tribal, and local governments;

  • $220 billion for education and community support programs;

  • $95.5 billion for transportation and infrastructure programs;

  • $92.2 billion for public health programs;

  • $75 billion for housing and community development programs;

  • $50 billion for small business relief;

  • $13.5 billion for veterans health care; and

  • $10.4 billion for food and nutrition support programs.

Next Steps

The House Budget Committee and Rules Committee will meet in the coming days to combine the bills into one reconciliation package and set rules for consideration. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) informed lawmakers that the House could vote on the package as early as Friday, February 26.

Senate leaders are expected to skip the committee drafting process and bring the House package directly to the floor the first week of March. Since the budget reconciliation process has limitations, House and Senate leaders have been consulting the Senate parliamentarian throughout this process to determine which provisions can remain in a final package. The Senate will likely amend the package before approving it, requiring the House to vote again. Congressional Democratic leaders aim to pass the stimulus package and send it to the President before March 15.

Minimum Wage Challenges

Although House and Senate Democratic leaders have said they want to pass a minimum wage increase, several Democratic Senators have expressed reservations with its inclusion in a COVID-19 relief package. Additionally, President Biden has acknowledged that the wage provisions may need to be removed and considered separately due to parliamentary rules that govern consideration of budget reconciliation measures.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) summaries and cost estimates of committee recommendations are available below.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 49
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Harry Sporidis Health Care Attorney Polsinelli Washington, D.C.
Senior Policy Advisor

Drawing on over 20 years of public policy and advocacy experience, Harry Sporidis provides clients with senior level proficiency in crafting solutions to legislative and regulatory challenges. He has worked closely with House and Senate Republicans and Democrats over his career on a wide range of issue areas including the environment, health care, transportation, trade, energy, and financial services.

Harry began his career on Capitol Hill, providing policy counsel to several members of the House of Representatives. Shortly after Republicans gained control of the House in 1994,...

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Timothy Perrin Health Care Attorney Polsinelli Washington, D.C.
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Tim Perrin helps clients communicate their advocacy goals to policymakers throughout the federal government by drawing on his 12-plus years of public-policy experience.

Tim’s areas of focus include:

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Sylvia Kornegay, Legislative Affairs,  Polsinelli Law Firm, Washington DC
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Having spent time on Capitol Hill, Sylvia joined Polsinelli with an extensive legislative background in financial services, agriculture, energy, and budget and appropriations issues. She has worked for Congressman Joseph Crowley (New York) and Congressman Michael A. Arcuri (New York), where she developed numerous bills and amendments and served as staff contact to the Blue Dog Coalition. Sylvia has drafted legislation to streamline and restructure the enrollment process for our nation’s veterans into the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs system, to alleviate economic...

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Robert J. Daley Health Care Attorney Polsinelli Washington, D.C.
Legislative Director

Robert Daley works with a wide range of health care clients including nonprofit health care associations, health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and companies to develop legislative strategies, craft policy solutions and represent their interests before policymakers in Washington. Robert helps clients navigate and understand changing political and legislative dynamics to appropriately adjust their advocacy efforts to meet their goals. He has had significant success working with clients to secure favorable amendments to federal legislation, including Medicare payment changes...

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