The Democratically-controlled House approved President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package early Saturday, a key step for a measure that might provide many Americans $1,400 stimulus payments, build up vaccine distribution and extend unemployment aid through the summer.
The bill, referred to as the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212. No Republicans voted for it, and two Democrats voted against it: Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Jared Golden, D-Maine.The measure now heads to the Senate where it faces a rocky path within the evenly divided chamber.
No Senate Republicans are expected to support the bill, citing its size and scope, therefore the president will need to calculate all of the 50 Democratic senators and a tie-breaking 51st vote from vice chairman Kamala Harris to form sure its key pillars remain within the bill.
“It's an excellent day for us to require a vote to scale back the spread of this virus...put vaccinations within the arms of the American people, money into the pockets, children into the faculties , workers back to their jobs, in order that we will proceed ," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. "I salute President Biden for his American Rescue Plan."
During brief remarks at the White House Saturday, Biden said he had just called Pelosi and thanked her for her "extraordinary leadership."The president said the House vote moved the country "one step closer" to "vaccinating the state ," putting "$1,400 within the pockets of usa citizens , extending unemployment benefits, "getting our youngsters safely back in class ," and "getting state and native governments the cash they have ."He urged the Senate to "take quick action" to approve his relief plan."We haven't any time to waste. If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly we will finally get before this virus, we will finally get our economy moving again," he said.
The bill gone by the House would:
Provide most Americans with another direct payment — this point for $1,400. (Republicans have proposed $1,000).
Extend federal bonus to unemployment benefits through August (the current benefit ends in mid-March)and raise the quantity to $400 per week. (Republicans want $300 every week through June).
Send $350 billion to state and native governments whose revenues have declined thanks to COVID social distancing measures (Republicans oppose any such "bailout").
Allocate $130 billion to assist fully reopen schools and colleges (Republicans are countering with $50 billion).
Allot $30 billion to assist renters and landlords weather economic losses (Republicans oppose any amount).Set aside $50 billion for small-business assistance (Republicans agree).
Appropriate $160 billion for vaccine development, distribution and related needs (Republicans also agree).
The House bill also includes a controversial provision to extend the national hourly wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025 that proponents say is important to assist the country recover economically but that opponents contend would force businesses to chop back.
Though a Pew Research poll found two-thirds of usa citizens back a $15 wage, Senate Republicans and a minimum of two Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona oppose such a rise.
But a $15 federal wage won't make it into the ultimate bill. A key Senate official on Thursday ruled the supply can't even be included within the COVID package because it doesn't qualify as a budgetary issue. That ruling makes it ineligible to be considered with the remainder of the relief package under a budgetary process referred to as reconciliation where bills are often enacted with 51 votes rather than needing the 60 votes to beat a filibuster.
With a wage provision looking unachievable, Senate Democrats are seeking differently to boost hourly wages.Senate legislator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was considering amending the relief package with a provision to penalize large corporations who didn't pay their workers a minimum of $15 per hour, consistent with a senior Democratic aide speaking on condition of anonymity, though the small print of the supply weren't yet available.
Any change within the Senate to the bill would delay relief because the measure would need to return to the House.Even if the wage provision were faraway from the bill, Pelosi said Friday the House would "absolutely" be ready to pass the bill."We have a consensus in our caucus that we're here to urge the work finished the American people," she said.