The sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill is one step closer to becoming law after Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding Senate vote on a key measure early this morning. As the bill heads back to the House of Representatives for a vote on reconciliation, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas 9th District), told Cheddar that while Democrats look to pass the bill as it stands, he is willing to negotiate on some terms of the potential law.
The bill includes $350 billion in state and local aid, a $20 billion national vaccine plan, and $50 billion for testing efforts. Americans applying for unemployment benefits would also receive an extra $400 per claim in addition to $1,400 checks for qualified Americans.
"I think the president has outlined an outstanding bill. I do believe that it's important that we get the rent paid because it helps the renters as well as the landlords," Green said.
Another item that could make it into the bill is the raising of the federal minimum wage to $15, although the Senate voted it down overnight, a provision that the congressman said he believed would bring people out of poverty. Though Green admitted that there is concern that the job market could take a blow as a result of the increase, he said that a minimum wage boost "helps the entire economy."
"We hear this same argument each time we raise the minimum wage and each time it's successfully raised and the economy is helped as a result of it. The minimum wage is not going to just simply go immediately to $15, it's phased in," Green noted.
Following debate over the amended relief bill, Congress is likely to begin steps to investigate r/WallStreetBets, in what he says will be an inquiry into January's stunning rise and fall of stocks like GameStop and any potentially nefarious dealings.
"Well, at some point, have a hearing, and we'll start with witnesses that are available to us at the time and then we sort of follow the facts," he said. "I believe that the facts ought to determine where an investigation goes."