The Senate on Saturday passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan in a party-line vote after an all-night session that saw Democrats battling among themselves over jobless aid and the Republican minority failing to push through some three dozen amendments.
In brief remarks on Saturday, Biden said passage of the plan will help get relief checks to Americans starting this month. He said he hopes for quick passage by the House of Representatives so he can sign the bill into law soon.
The final bill includes $400 billion in one-time payments of $1,400 to most Americans, $300 a week in extended jobless benefits for the 9.5 million people thrown out of work in the crisis, and $350 billion in aid to state and local governments that have seen the pandemic blow a hole in their budgets.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a tweet that the House will vote Tuesday on the Senate-passed bill. After passage by the House, it would be sent to Biden, who hopes to sign the bill before enhanced jobless benefits expire on March 14.
The Senate voted 50-49, with no Republicans supporting what would be one of the largest stimulus packages in U.S. history.
Democrats broke out in applause amid passage of the bill and Senator Bernie Sanders fist-bumped Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
As the Senate was about to cast its vote, Schumer said the bill was the prescription for getting the upper hand against a pandemic that has killed more than 520,000 people across the country and upended most aspects of American life.
“I want the American people to know that we’re going to get through this and someday soon our businesses will reopen, our economy will reopen and life will reopen,” Schumer said.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, however, had harsh words about the measure. “The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard way or through a less rigorous process,” he said.
Republicans had sought a new round of aid about one-third the size of Biden’s plan.
McConnell argued that even without this legislation, “2021 is already set to be our comeback year” because of relief bills enacted last year.
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org