House Ways and Means Committee Begins Mark Up of COVID Relief Bill
WASHINGTON – The House Ways and Means Committee is meeting Wednesday to mark up sweeping COVID-19 legislation that the panel’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, of Massachusetts, says will enable Americans from all walks of life to better confront the lingering health and economic challenges posed by the pandemic.
Among the proposals being considered Wednesday is the issuance of $1,400 stimulus payments to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income. Also eligible for payments under the Democratic plan are individuals who are considered dependents, including college students and disabled adults.
Meanwhile, congressional Republicans have endorsed a plan to send up to $1,000 checks to individuals earning up to $40,000 per year and to couples earning $80,000 in adjusted gross income a year.
In addition, Chairman Neal said, the legislation being marked up Wednesday will “build on the special enrollment period that President Biden recently announced by making it even easier for unemployed workers to afford their health insurance” and “enhance and expand refundable tax credits for low- and middle-income workers and families.”
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that such expansions along with direct assistance, would provide an average income boost of 33% for the poorest 20% of households.
“This will be a major tool in lifting millions of children out of poverty and it will change lives,” Neal said.
The panel will also consider a provision that focuses specifically on stopping the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes and another intended to shore up multiemployer pension plans that have been jeopardized by COVID-19.
In opening remarks before the committee Wednesday morning, Neil said “throughout this crisis,the Ways and Means Committee has led some of the most significant provisions in Congress’s COVID response legislation.
“Our members’ efforts have helped keep jobless workers afloat, families in their homes, and employees connected to their employers, all while giving first responders the resources they needed to fight this disastrous virus. This Committee’s quick, thorough work prevented even greater catastrophe and truly provided lifelines for Americans in need.
“However, we are far from the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost a fifth of the total deaths from the virus occurred in the last month and January’s jobs report showed hardly any job creation. Anyone who thinks we will recover without intervention isn’t paying attention,” Neil continued.
“Over the next many hours, and days, we will debate legislative proposals that are immensely important to the American people. They are proposals that many of our families and neighbors need to stay afloat in this incredibly challenging time,” he said.
Neil went on to urge his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to rise to the occasion.
“Because the American people are counting on us,” he said.
In The News
House lawmakers on Friday introduced sweeping antitrust legislation aimed at restraining the power of large tech companies and preventing corporate consolidation across the economy. Introduced by Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Ken Buck, R-Colo., the five bills are directed squarely... Read More
Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y. recently went into a couple of Lincoln car dealerships in Syracuse, New York, but “neither one of them had any cars.” “And they’re not going to have any cars for several weeks because of the chip shortage,” Katko said during a "fireside... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee unanimously approved a sweeping overhaul of federal legislation on Thursday to prevent child abuse and neglect. The House already approved a similar version of the bill, nearly guaranteeing it will reach President Joe Biden’s desk for final approval. It is different... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Testimony at a congressional hearing Wednesday on last month’s Colonial Pipeline Co. ransomware attack demonstrated that a bigger role for the federal government is coming soon to protect private computer networks. The Georgia-based company’s chief executive officer admitted to internal failures in protecting the... Read More
MAIDENS, Va. (AP) — When Sherry Brockenbrough and her family opened a distillery on a leafy vista overlooking the James River on March 5, 2020, the coronavirus still seemed like a distant threat. But in the coming weeks, Hill Top Distillery faced the kind of barriers... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Problem Solvers Caucus released a new, $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal Wednesday, aiming to break the partisan gridlock that has so far stymied any kind of deal between the White House and Capitol Hill. The plan put forward by the bipartisan caucus was crafted... Read More