KEY POINTS

  • Schumer said Democrats will meet the March deadline
  • Democrats hope to pass the bill in a House vote later this week
  • It is unclear whether budget reconciliation can be used to pass $15 minimum wage

As the House plans to approve the $1.9 trillion relief package later this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday promised that the final bill will be passed in time to meet the March 14 deadline.

The House Budget Committee voted Monday to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan, which includes aid to small businesses and $1,400 checks to individuals with incomes below $75,000. 

Democrats are aiming to pass the sweeping legislation using a budget reconciliation process before March 14, which is when federal unemployment benefits established by stimulus legislation passed in December 2020 are set to expire. 

“We're going to meet that deadline," Schumer said. “The final bill is not exactly the same, but very close to the bill that President Biden proposed."

The budget reconciliation process will allow Democrats to pass the $1.9 trillion bill in the Senate without Republican support through a simple majority vote. However, the process can only be used to pass budget-related measures. The provisions must also not increase the federal deficit after a 10-year budget window. 

Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough is expected to meet with Democratic and Republican staffers to discuss whether the process can be used to pass the $15 minimum wage. 

"We're going to await her judgment before we go any further," Schumer said about the upcoming meeting. 

Republicans have publicly opposed the price tag on the nearly 600-page bill. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday said the package will not likely get any votes from Republicans on the Senate floor. 

Collins also blamed Schumer and White House chief of staff Ron Klain when bipartisan talks on the administration’s first sweeping legislation fell apart. 

“The administration has not indicated a willingness to come down from its $1.9 trillion figure and that's a major obstacle,” Collins said. “We have indicated a willingness to come up from our $618 billion, but unfortunately the White House seems wedded to a figure that really can't be justified given the hundreds of billions of dollars that are still in the pipeline from the December bill.” US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on February 10, 2021 that he hopes the "gut-wrenching" video footage from the January 6 attack on the US Capitol changes some of the senator-jurors' minds during Donald Trump's impeachment trial US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on February 10, 2021 that he hopes the "gut-wrenching" video footage from the January 6 attack on the US Capitol changes some of the senator-jurors' minds during Donald Trump's impeachment trial Photo: POOL / BRANDON BELL