House Passes Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill, Senate Fate Uncertain

The House passed President Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package early Saturday morning almost entirely along partisan lines.

The bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212. No Republicans voted for it, and two Democrats voted against it: Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

The House bill included a $15 minimum wage hike that the Senate parliamentarian ruled cannot be included in the Senate bill due to the use of the budget reconciliation process.

As was the case in the House, no Senate Republicans are expected to support the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will need to keep all 50 Democratic Senators on board, and Vice President Kamala Harris will have to cast the tie-breaking vote to pass the legislation.

“It’s a great day for us to take a vote to reduce the spread of this virus…put vaccinations in the arms of the American people, money into the pockets, children into the schools, workers back into their jobs, so that we can go forward,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. “I salute President Biden for his American Rescue Plan.”

The bill passed by the House would:

  • Provide most Americans with a direct payment of $1,400.
  • Extend federal bonus to unemployment benefits through August (the current benefit ends in mid-March) and bump up the amount to $400 per week.
  • Appropriate $160 billion for vaccine development, distribution and related needs.
  • Send $350 billion to state and local governments whose revenues have declined due to COVID social distancing measures
  • Allocate $130 billion to help fully reopen schools and colleges.
  • Allot $30 billion to help renters and landlords weather economic losses.
  • Set aside $50 billion for small-business assistance.

 

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