The House has passed the biggest piece of legislative work in the Biden administration thus far, all ahead of the March 14 deadline when some pandemic-era unemployment benefits expire.
The $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package is still massive – but it’s slightly less of a lift for Democratic leaders charging toward a speedy passage now that the $15 minimum wage provision has been stripped out by the Senate parliamentarian.
It’s a win for congressional whips, but especially moderate Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who made it clear they didn’t support the increase, thus imperiling the entire aid package which needs support from every single Democrat in the Senate. But progressives are already signaling they plan to keep pushing for the minimum wage increase – after all, we’re only 37 days into the Biden administration.
There are still more hoops to jump through before the Covid-19 bill heads to Biden’s desk. But this week’s progression is a big step for the new President’s agenda – and probably welcome news for the White House after a week of bumpy confirmation hearings for some of Biden’s Cabinet picks.
Even if Biden is having a hard time locking down bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, he got a taste of it in Texas (of all places!). Biden traveled to Houston to visit a region hit hard by winter storms and a crippled power grid, and was accompanied by Texas Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn.
Texas’ other senator was out of the state during Biden’s visit (but not in Cancun). Sen. Ted Cruz joined the legions of conservatives attending CPAC in Florida this weekend, where former President Donald Trump will deliver his first speech post-presidency.
Trump spent the week preparing for his return to the spotlight, at times working solo out of his golf cart, which has doubled as his mobile office, CNN’s Kate Bennett reported.
The Point: Biden may be struggling to build bipartisan support for his massive Covid-19 aid package, but it appears on the march toward passage before his March deadline. And perhaps he can find hope for bipartisanship in his Texas travel companions.
This story has been updated with the House passing the stimulus bill.