Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill by Slim 50-49 Margin

The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Saturday as Democrats rush to send out a fresh round of aid.

via: NBC News

The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Saturday, capping off a marathon overnight session after Democrats resolved internal clashes that threatened to derail President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority.

The far-reaching legislation includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $300-per-week jobless benefits through the summer, a child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year, $350 billion for state aid, $34 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies and $14 billion for vaccine distribution.

The final vote was 50-49 along party lines, with every Republican voting “no.” It came after Democrats voted down a swath of Republican amendments on repeated votes of 50-49 to avoid disrupting the delicate agreement between progressive and moderate senators.

Before it can be signed by Biden, the legislation will have to be passed again by the House because the Senate made changes to its version. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the chamber would vote Tuesday on the Senate-passed legislation.

Biden called the aid package “urgently needed” and praised the Senate for passing it Saturday, saying it will get “checks out the door” to Americans “this month.”

“The resources in this plan will be used to speed up manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines, so that we can get every American vaccinated sooner rather than later,” he said.

He praised the Senate and hailed the measure’s “overwhelming bipartisan support of the American people,” referring to polling that indicates the legislation is broadly popular.

The vote was a critical early test of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s ability to keep all 50 Democrats unified behind a major piece of legislation despite being an ideologically and regionally diverse caucus.

“From the beginning, we said this: We had to pass this legislation,” the New York Democrat told reporters. “We made a promise to the American people that we were going to deliver the real relief they needed. And now we have fulfilled that promise.”

Schumer said Biden called him and he told the president, “I knew we would get this done.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted Democrats for taking a partisan approach and argued that they would not deserve credit for the economic recovery.

“The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard or less rigorous way,” he said. “Democrats inherited a tide that is already turning.”

The legislation would be a victory for Biden, who campaigned for president primarily on bringing Covid-19 under control and reviving a shattered economy. The package also includes many progressive priorities, although others like a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour were forced out. Experts say the new policies will sharply cut child poverty.

Get those checks out to the people ASAP.

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