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Covid Relief Moving Forward, Minimum Wage Will Wait

The Senate is considering the Biden $1.9T Covid Relief package. The legislation is being considered under Budget Reconciliation which allows for unlimited amendments which could drag the debate on into the weekend. However, there appears near certainty that all 50 Democrats will vote for the final bill, and VP Harris will break a 50/50 tie if needed to approve the bill.

To broaden the support of moderate Democrats the final Senate product is likely to reduce the House supplemental unemployment payments from $400 a week to $300. However, the Senate bill will extend the federal unemployment benefit a month from the end of August until the end of September. This could prove to be an important change as the federal unemployment expiration will now run parallel to the end of the US Government fiscal year and would allow any further extension to be tied to the “must pass” government funding legislation that needs to pass by October 1. In a further compromise to more liberal Senators the Senate bill will make the first $10,200 of unemployment tax free for 2020.

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