WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Over the weekend, the country moved a step closer to $1,400 stimulus checks hitting bank accounts as the House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that was championed by President Joe Biden.
The big question now: How quickly will the measure move through the Senate and could we see those direct payments this month?
“We have no time to waste,” Biden said on Saturday. “We act now — decisively, quickly and boldly — we can finally get ahead of this virus.”
The Senate is set to begin debating the COVID-19 relief bill this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday. A Democratic Senate aide says debate could begin on the Senate floor as early as Wednesday.
Democrats are pushing the relief measure through Congress under special rules that will let them avoid a Senate GOP filibuster in an evenly divided 50-50 Senate, meaning that if they are united they won’t need any Republican votes.
It also lets the bill move faster, a top priority for Democrats who want the bill on Biden’s desk before the most recent emergency jobless benefits end on March 14. If that happens, it’s possible the U.S. Treasury Department could get direct payments processed in a matter of days — meaning you could see money this month.
However, quite a bit has to happen before then. While chances are dwindling that Democrats will find a way to retain a minimum wage boost in the $1.9 trillion relief package, fights could erupt over state aid and other issues. Senate Democrats may reshape the $350 billion the bill provides for state and local governments. They also might extend its fresh round of emergency unemployment benefits, which would be $400 weekly, through September instead of August, as the House approved.
While the Senate is expected to try and make changes to the bill, the House proposal calls for $1,400 stimulus checks to go to the same Americans who received direct payments in round two of coronavirus relief.
The Associated Press, Reuters and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report