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The COVID-19 relief package is now in the Senate’s hands

The new COVID-19 relief package heads to the Senate. The bill’s minimum wage change will cause debate

The Biden administration will begin sending out child cash benefits by July 15.
In this April 23, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump’s name is seen on a stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, in San Antonio.
Eric Gay, Associated Press

The fate of your next stimulus check sits in the hands of the U.S. Senate, which will review President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package this week.

What’s going on?

Democrats in the House of Representatives passed the COVID-19 relief package over the weekend. Now, it will head over to the Senate, according to NPR.

What to watch

The bill currently has a measure that would raise the minimum wage, which isn’t something the Senate will approve, according to NPR. The House decided to keep the measure in its bill despite Senate opposition.

However, the Senate parliamentarian — the Senate’s adviser on the interpretation of its rules and procedures — said the minimum wage couldn’t be in the bill if the Senate uses reconciliation — which needs a simple majority to pass in the Senate. So the Senate is expected to take the minimum wage part out of the bill. For it to pass without reconciliation, the bill would need 60 votes — which is more than the bill is expected to get, according to Vox.

So Democrats will need 50 votes to get the package approved. In that scenario, Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie, pushing the package through, according to The Associated Press.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema, of Arizona, have previously been opposed to the minimum wage hike, according to Newsweek.

So what does it mean for the stimulus?

The current bill includes a $1,400 check for qualifying Americans. That’s the easy way to put it. Here’s a better breakdown as I’ve written about before.

  • Under the current plan, people who make under $50,000 would get the full $1,400.
  • Married couples who earn up to $100,000 would get $2,800.
  • Heads of households who earn $75,000 would also qualify.
  • “Similar to the prior rounds of stimulus checks, people who earn slightly above those thresholds would still qualify for a partial payment,” according to The Washington Post.