The package introduced by House Democrats includes direct aid to small businesses, $1,400 in direct checks to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year, an increase in the child tax credit, direct funding to state and local governments, among other measures.
Before a vote was taken in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) insisted in a press conference last night that the $15 per hour federal wage increase be approved, regardless of what happens in the Senate.
The congressional leader said, "As a matter of values, I can say that we will not rest until we pass the $15 minimum wage...if it does not prevail because of Senate rules, we will persist. But we will not stop until we pass the $15 minimum wage very soon."
The passage of the bill comes days after the country reached 500,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEWS: House votes 219-212 to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid relief package.
The relief package now heads to the Senate, where Democrats are expected to amend it next week and send it back to the House for approval before unemployment insurance benefits expire on March 14.
One component of the bill that the House passed will not pass in the Senate, which is an increase in the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $15.00.
The push to raise the minimum wage faces strong pushback from Republicans and a handful of centrist Democratic lawmakers, who cited a Congressional Budget Office report estimating that while it would lift 900,000 people out of poverty, it may also result in the loss of 1.4 million jobs.