CHICAGO - The US House could vote as soon as Tuesday on President Joe Biden's gigantic "American Rescue Plan" that would send American workers another stimulus check and provide parents up to $3,600 a year for each child.
A $15 minimum wage and some other Democratic priorities are no longer part of the package, but progressive Bernie Sanders nonetheless is praising Biden's plan as "the most significant legislation for working people in the modern history of this country."
Congressional Republicans, however, hashtag it "BlueStateBailout."
"There’s more money in this to bail out union pension funds than all the money combined for vaccine distribution and testing! It's so bad that there's more money for transit projects than there is money to distribute and transport the vaccines," said Republican Tennessee Senator Bill Hegarty.
It includes $1.5 billion for Chicago-area transit and $5 billion for Illinois schools -- all part of $13.2 billion targeted to Illinois state and local governments.
Democrats hope to cut in half the number of children living in poverty by paying parents $300-a-month for each child under age 6 and $250-a-month for each child through age 17. And there's more.
"If you are a care giver, whether for a child or a senior or whatever, child care is substantially supported in this legislation," said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A little-noticed provision would benefit about 100,000 workers and retirees in the Chicago area. It is an $86 billion bailout of private union pension funds, with some Illinois Democrats quietly hoping it sets a precedent for a future bailout of government employee pensions.