Earlier Friday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) pledged that Congress would approve the legislation and send it to the president to sign ahead of the March 14 deadline when enhanced unemployment insurance benefits expire. Under complex Senate rules for consideration of the legislation, lawmakers are now awaiting guidance from the Senate parliamentarian on whether the minimum wage provision can even be part of the package.
The legislation also includes a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks. Joe Manchin of West Virginia who has called for more targeted stimulus checks.
The minimum wage increase has been a central policy point for progressives and received qualified support from Joe Biden. It includes money for vaccines and testing, for schools, even a proposal to raise the minimum wage.
The provision faces multiple difficulties: Republicans oppose it and at least two moderate Senate Democrats have warned they, too, would vote against it, which would sink the wage increase in a Senate split 50-50.
The House is prepared to take up the bill next week and pass it and send it to the Senate late in the week, perhaps Friday or Saturday. But that quickly proved to be hard as Republicans raised concerns over the price tag of Biden's bill, voicing their support instead for a much smaller package.
The current proposal would provide full payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 a year and married couples earning up to $150,000 a year - the same income thresholds in Biden's emergency plan released in January.
Republicans say that with billions still to be spent from earlier relief packages, it doesn't make sense to shovel even more taxpayer cash out the door. "I think that's unfortunate". "What would they have me leave out?" he said.
"With millions of Americans unemployed and demanding relief to reopen schools and get people back to work, House Republican leadership is demanding its members vote against a bipartisan plan to help struggling Americans", her office said in an email.
"Next week, the House is expected to consider the almost $2 trillion package of progressive priorities Democrats have rushed to bring to the floor", minority whip Steven Scalise, R-La., wrote.
But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC on Thursday that she wasn't anxious about the legislation going too far. "God willing, this Christmas will be different than last, but I can't make that commitment to you". "The greater risk is of scarring the people, having this pandemic take a permanent lifelong toll on their lives and livelihoods".
She added that "doing too little" has a higher price than "doing something big".
"We think it's very important to have a big package [that] addresses the pain this has caused - 15 million Americans behind on their rent, 24 million adults and 12 million children who don't have enough to eat, small businesses failing", Yellen told CNBC.
Summer Lin is a McClatchy Real-Time News Reporter.