White House’s Virus Relief Spending Plan Takes Shape
President Joe Biden's plan for wages and stimulus checks moves forward amid concerns about the state of the workforce and unemployment.
House Democrats Plan To Push Biden's Covid Relief Plan Through The Chamber Next Week
House Democrats are taking a major step forward to push through President Joe Biden's massive $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill by the end of next week. The House Budget committee announced Thursday it will take the step of cobbling together pieces of the plan on Monday and vote to advance it out of the committee, paving the way for House floor action by week's end. (Foran, 2/18)
Biden Privately Tells Governors: Minimum Wage Hike Likely Isn’t Happening
When Joe Biden met with a group of mayors and governors last week he bluntly told them to get ready for a legislative defeat: his proposed minimum wage hike was unlikely to happen, he said, at least in the near term. “I really want this in there but it just doesn't look like we can do it because of reconciliation,” Biden told the group, according to a person in the room. “I’m not going to give up. But right now, we have to prepare for this not making it.” (Korecki and Cadelago, 2/18)
The New York Times:
Kamala Harris: Women Leaving Work Force During Pandemic Is A 'National Emergency'
Vice President Kamala Harris said on Thursday that the 2.5 million women who have left the work force since the beginning of the pandemic constituted a “national emergency” that could be addressed by the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief plan. That number, according to Labor Department data, compares with 1.8 million men who have left the work force. For many women, the demands of child care, coupled with layoffs and furloughs in an economy hit hard by the pandemic, has forced them out of the labor market. (Rogers, 2/18)
In other news —
Conservative Groups Seek To Bolster Opposition To Biden's HHS Pick
Conservative groups have launched advertising and grassroots campaigns in a bid to sink the nomination of Xavier Becerra for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), portraying him as too liberal and inexperienced for the job. Heritage Action for America is backing a $600,000 ad campaign targeting Becerra, while Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion conservative group, is seeking to drum up grassroots support to pressure lawmakers to oppose Becerra's confirmation. (Samuels, 2/18)
KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Open Enrollment, One More Time
An estimated 9 million Americans eligible for free or reduced premium health insurance under the Affordable Care Act have a second chance to sign up for 2021 coverage, since the Biden administration reopened enrollment on healthcare.gov and states that run their own marketplaces followed suit. Meanwhile, Biden officials took the first steps to revoke the permission that states got from the Trump administration to require many adults on Medicaid to work or perform community service in exchange for their health coverage. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case on the work requirements at the end of March. (2/18)